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May 11, 2021

FInd Ancestors in New Jersey

My Peer family came from New Jersey to Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1796. It has been the second most challenging genealogy search in existing records. For anyone interested, finding genealogy records in Ireland is my number one research challenge! 

In light of the challenges of early New Jersey research I have put together some links to online databases for other genealogists to use. 

The Olive Tree logo denotes those are free records on

On Site List Selected Baptisms of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Ramapo, Bergen Co., New Jersey 1750-1817 NEW September 2010
On Site List Records of the Reformed Dutch Churches of Hackensack and Schraalenburgh, New Jersey Membership Lists Hackensack 1695-1769
On Site List Records of the Reformed Dutch Churches of Hackensack and Schraalenburgh, New Jersey Membership Lists Schraalenburgh 1797-1801
On Site List Records of the Reformed Dutch Churches of Hackensack and Schraalenburgh, New Jersey Marriages Hackensack 1696 - 1801
On Site List Records of the Reformed Dutch Churches of Hackensack and Schraalenburgh, New Jersey Baptisms Hackensack 1696-1783
On Site List Records of the Reformed Dutch Churches of Hackensack and Schraalenburgh, New Jersey Consistory Records Hackensack 1701 - 1780
On Site List Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, NJ: 1756-1774 | 1775-1777 | 1778-1779 | 1780-1781 | 1782-1784 | 1785-1787 | 1788-1789 | 1790-1791 | 1792-1793 | 1794 | 1795 | 1796 | 1797 | 1798 | 1799 | 1800 | 1801-1802 | 1803-1804 | 1805-1806 | 1807-1822
On Site List Marriages Elizabethtown, (was Essex Co.)
On Site List Marriages in Hackensack pre 1700
On Site List Early Settlers in Hackensack
On Site List  First Reformed Dutch Church at Montville, Morris Co., Baptisms 1786-1828
On Site List First Reformed Dutch Church at Montville, Morris Co., Marriages 1826-1873

New Jersey Naturalization Records on

Calendar of New Jersey Wills, 1670-1760 on Ancestry

 New Jersey, U.S., Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817 on Ancestry

New Jersey, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1739-1991 on Ancestry

See more links and records at Olive Tree Genealogy New Jersey page

May 8, 2021

FInding a Loyalist Ancestor

Have you discovered you have 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

Here are some Loyalist resources to help you in your hunt: 

More resources can be found at

May 5, 2021

Find Ancestors in Almshouse & Poorhouse Records

Discharge Ledger 1923-1926

Almshouses (also known as  poorhouses, or hospital) are charitable housing provided to impoverished people in a community.

Almshouses were originally formed as extensions of the church system and were later adapted by local officials and authorities.

 Below are links to online Almshouse records - some free and some pay-to-view. You will also find more links at

United States Almshouse Records

New York Almshouse Records 1782-1813. Records contain name of ancestor, date admitted, age, where from or born, complaint [illness], discharged, died, remarks. 

New York Almshouse Registers

Almshouse Records New York 1819-1840

Almshouse Records New York City 1855-1858

Society for Relief of Half-Orphans & Destitute Children 1900, Manhattan New York

Milwaukee County Almshouse & Poor Farm Cemeteries Wisconsin List of Burials 1872-1892; 194-1974 available at

Child Apprentices (Orphans & Impoverished Children) in America from Christ's Hospital, London 1617-1778: Child Apprentice

Chester County, Pennsylvania, U.S., Poor House Admissions Index, 1800-1910   
Chester County, Pennsylvania, U.S., Poor School Children, 1810-1841   
Canada Almshouse Records

Poor Law Union Immigrants England to Canada 1836-1871

Ireland Almshouse Records

Return of Destitute Poor Removed from England to Ireland, from the 1st day of December 1860 till the 1st day of December 1862

Poor Law Union Removals From England to Ireland, 1859-1860

Ireland, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1839-1920

Ireland, Sustainability Loan Fund, 1812-1868   

Ireland, Poor Law Union Removals From England, 1859-1860   

UK Almshouse Records

London, England, Poor Law Hospital Admissions and Discharges, 1842-1918
London, England, Poor Law School District Registers, 1852-1918

Leeds Moral & Industrial Training School, Yorkshire, England 1881

Bedfordshire, England, Workhouse and Poor Law Records, 1835-1914

Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, Poorhouse Records, 1888-1912

North Lanarkshire, Scotland, Poor Law Applications and Registers, 1849-1917 

Swansea and Surrounding Area, Wales, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1916    

Dorset, England, Poor Law Settlement and Removal Records, 1682-1862   
Dorset, England, Poor Law Apprenticeship Records, 1623-1898   
Medway, Kent, England, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1937   
West Yorkshire, England, Select Removal and Settlement Records, 1689-1866   
West Yorkshire, England, Select Poor Law and Township Records, 1663-1914   
London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930   
England, Norfolk Poor Law Union Records, 1796-1900   
London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930   
Warwickshire, England, Parish Poor Law, 1546-1904   
Dorset, England, Poor Law and Church of England Parish Records, 1511-1997   
London, England, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1738-1926

May 3, 2021

20 Traits of a Good Genealogist

Most of us want to be good genealogists. We want to do our best to find our ancestors. We want to find the facts,and know that what we found is accurate.

It's never fun to spend time searching an individual's ancestors and adding them to our family tree only to find out it was the wrong person.

That means we need to be thorough and methodical and cautious. We should not accept an ancestor without verifying and double-checking every clue and document we find.

Here's my list of what I believe are the 10 most important characteristics of a good genealogist.

A good genealogist

1. Finds every document possible on an ancestor. He/she does not stop at census and vital registrations but looks beyond to records such as land records, court records, military records, church records,immigration records, education records, newspaper articles, tax and assessment records, etc. A good genealogist looks for more obscure records such as coffin plates, funeral cards, and other miscellaneous records pertaining to the time and location of his/her search.

2. Learns what records have survived for the location and time period for each ancestor's life. Then learns where those records can be found - online and off.

3. Copies documents exactly as found, not as he/she thinks it should be.

4. Cites sources for all facts found. Citing your sources means others can look up what you have written, and verify for themselves. Sources means you've got proof of some kind to support your fact.

5. Never relies blindly on family stories or online family trees, but searches out a source for each. Verify, verify, verify!

6. Makes an accurate copy of all records found. Carefully notes spelling of names while copying and does not make changes.

7. Keeps a research log of all sources checked, and notes if the search was successful or not.

8. Analyzes each record and document carefully in order to spot clues that may lead to other areas of research and to accurately understand what the record is  and is not.

9. Searches siblings of a challenging ancestor in order to find more documents that may hold clues pertaining to his/her ancestor.

10. Leaves no stone (record) unturned. Extends his/her search to records not found online such as in local courthouses or archives.

A good genealogist also tends to have the following personality traits:

1. Attention to detail
2. Perseverance
3. Loves a challenge
4. Passionate about family history
5. Methodical
6. Organized
7. Thinks outside the box
8. Good analytical skills
9. Thinks of themselves as a detective
10. Is patient. Building a family tree isn't a quick fix

What would you add to the list?

April 30, 2021

A Murdering Rogue in My Family Tree

August 5, 1895 in Buffalo, New York was a typically hot summer day. George Greenless, my 1st cousin 3 times removed, was estranged at this time from his wife, Ella 'Nellie' Misener. Hoping to find her at home with her parents, he entered their home and a shouting match ensued.

George then pulled a pistol and shot and killed his mother-in-law. Next he shot and wounded his sister-in-law's fiance Walter Flewell. Flewell later died of his injuries.

George's story is a convoluted one. He was sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder in 1898 and sent to Auburn Prison in New York.

During his trial he became friendly with the warden of the jail where he was held. Later George's Canadian relatives came to New York to testify, and more lurid stories of George's erratic behaviour and mistreatment of his wife came out. A family witness stated that there was a great deal of insanity in the Greenlees family.

In 1909 he was sent to Sing-Sing Prison but was released on parole and married Rachel Roach in 1918 in Buffalo. In 1924 the courts granted George a pardon. He and Rachel had six children before his death in 1928.

His widow Rachel married another Sing-Sing inmate in 1932. William Leonard, her new husband, was sent to prison in 1903, served a short term before release but was back in Sing-Sing in 1904. Another short term resulted but once again he returned to Sing-Sing in 1908 sentenced to 2 to 4 years. I cannot read his crime in the records as the writing is challenging.

Newspapers are amazing, full of genealogy gold! You can try a 14 day free trial at Ancestry to search newspaper records.

Find Ancestors in Historic Insane Asylum Records

Mental Institutions were once called Insane Asylums and those committed to them were deemed lunatics, idiots, imbeciles, crazy, and other terms we now consider derogatory. Many times people committed did not suffer from mental illness. Women were frequently admitted with what we now know was post-partum depression, or menopausal hormone changes. 

For the genealogist, these institutional records are full of information that is horrifying yet important in our genealogy research. Below are some links, both pay-to-view and free, leading you to various online databases of Insane Asylum records.

United States Insane Asylum Records

New York, U.S., Hebrew Infant Asylum Records, 1895-1927   

New York, U.S., Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society Records, 1884-1925   

New York, U.S., Home for Hebrew Infants Records, 1922-1937   
New York, U.S., Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum Records, 1878-1969   

New York, U.S., Hebrew Orphan Asylum Records, 1860-1934   

UK Insane Asylum Records

Annual return of lunatics: Guisborough Union 1844 Yorkshire England

Annual return of lunatics: Stocksley Union 1844 Yorkshire England

Annual return of lunatics: Richmond Union 1844 Yorkshire England

Annual return of lunatics: Thirsk Union 1844 Yorkshire England

Annual return of lunatics: Stockton Union, Yorkshire England 1869

Annual return of lunatics in the Stockton Union Yorkshire England 1870

Clifton Asylum, Yorkshire England Names of private lunatics in the Asylum at Clifton on 1 January 1869 

England, Criminal Lunatic Asylum Registers, 1820-1843
Bodmin, Cornwall, England, Inmates at St. Lawrence's Asylum, 1840-1900   

Glamorganshire, Wales, Glamorgan County Ayslum Records, 1845-1920    Directories & Member Lists   
Fife, Scotland, Asylum Registers, 1866-1937   

Canada Insane Asylum Records

Toronto Insane Asylum 1841

Annual Report of the Medical Superintendent of the Provincial Hospital for the Insane, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Australia Insane Asylum Records

Victoria, Australia, Lunatic Estates and Register, 1867-1906

New South Wales, Australia, Registers for the Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children, 1852 - 1915   
New South Wales, Australia, Hospital & Asylum Records, 1840-1913

Victoria, Australia, Asylum Records, 1853-1940    

Miscellaneous Insane Asylum Records

Olive Tree Genealogy Insane Asylum Records 

Blacksheep Ancestors Insane Asylum Records


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AncestryDNA provides consumers with exciting insights into their ethnic background and helps them find relatives who may hold the keys to exciting new family history discoveries. 

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April 26, 2021

Giveaway Contest! Genealogy at a Glance: Ontario Canada Genealogy Research

If you are hunting for ancestors in Ontario you won't want to miss my new 4-page guide! 

I wrote about how to find genealogy records in Ontario in "Genealogy at a Glance: Ontario Canada Genealogy Research" published by

I have one copy of this guide to give away. One winner will be chosen at random from all entries. 

Entry Requirements

1. Share this blog post on a social media site such as Twitter or Facebook. You may provide a link to this blog post on your own blog as an alternate method of sharing the news. 

2. You must tag me - on Twitter I am @LorineMS and on Facebook @Olivetreegenealogy. You can drop me an email at if you share this blog post on your own blog or other Social Media.

Contest Rules

1. No purchase necessary.
2. Winner will be chosen at random from entries where I am tagged or emailed. See details above for entry requirements
3. One winner will be chosen to receive the giveaway on May 1, 2021
4. Giveaway starts when this blog post is published, and ends at midnight EDT April 30, 2021
5. You are responsible for anything in regards to the legality of entering a contest in the area in which you live.
6. The winner will be notified via social media where entered, and the winner's name will be posted on Olive Tree Genealogy blog.

If you don't win you can purchase a copy. See Genealogy at a Glance: Ontario Canada Genealogy Research