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October 30, 2009

Ah, the Good Ole Days!

When I started researching my genealogy it was sporadic, with years of non-genealogy in between spurts of frantic searching. But then I began researching in earnest in the days I refer to as B.I. (Before the Internet)

I was thinking about it this week. Do you remember B.I.? Before Windows. Before Cyndis List. Before Before this wonderful cyber world we know now.

I worked on my computer in DOS (remember, this was also B.W. - Before Windows), and joined a few BBS (Bulletin Board Services). I had to dial long distance from my home to the nearest big city to pick up the BBS.

It cost me a fortune in long-distance charges so I would dial in, download the BBS "mail" and log off. Then I'd read the messages offline, respond offline and dial in again to upload (post) my responses. There was a 4 to 5 day lag time between sending my messages and seeing responses.

Hard to imagine, but we still managed to get our genealogy research done! Snail mail was important, I would pore over queries in all the genealogy newsletters I received. Then I'd write to anyone who seemed to be looking for the same ancestors I was! I waited in anticipation day after day, anxious to see what the next day's mail would bring.

I look back on that as a very satisfying genealogy experience, there was something quite wonderful about the feeling you got when that huge package of material arrived in the mail from another researcher.

I miss that. Now I research online. Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of online research. I love the speed of finding ancestors online compared to snail mail and going out to libraries and archives.

But it's kind of like buying from E-Bay instead of going out to the antique store or junk store or flea market and experiencing that "aha!" moment when you spot a treasure buried under a pile of junk... There's a great deal of satisfaction in slogging through reel after reel of microfilm - unindexed microfilm - and finally spotting your ancestor's name!

Now when I get a package in the mail (which is infrequent as most items are scanned and sent via email), it is for material I already know is coming. I'm not complaining, it's all good and it's genealogy information I want and need BUT I don't have that same sense of wonderment or anticipation as I did back in the days of B.I.

I love the Internet. I would never want to return to B.I. But I would love to have the awe and excitement of snail mail anticipation back again. So my goal for 2010 is to find a way to rediscover the thrill of the hunt and I welcome any suggestions from readers on how to do this. Yes I want it all! I want the convenience and speed of online genealogy plus the thrill and anticipation of the good ole B.I. days.

October 29, 2009


Footnote.comicon to feature original documents from every publicly available U.S. Federal Census from 1790 to 1930

Lindon, UT – October 29, 2009 – Today Footnote.comiconannounced it will digitize and create a searchable database for all publicly available U.S. Federal Censuses ranging from the first U.S. Census taken in 1790 to the most current public census from 1930.

Through its partnership with The National Archives, will add more than 9.5 million images featuring over a half a billion names to its extensive online record collection.

“The census is the most heavily used body of records from the National Archives,” explains Cynthia Fox, Deputy Director at the National Archives. “In addition to names and ages, they are used to obtain dates for naturalizations and the year of immigration. This information can then be used to locate additional records.”

With over 60 million historical records already online, will use the U.S. Census records to tie content together, creating a pathway to discover additional records that previously have been difficult to find.

“We see the census as a highway leading back to the 18th century,” explains Russ Wilding, CEO of “This Census Highway provides off-ramps leading to additional records on the site such as naturalization records, historical newspapers, military records and more. Going forward, will continue to add valuable and unique collections that will enhance the census collection.”

To date, has already completed census collections from two key decades: 1930 and 1860. As more census decades are added to the site, visitors to can view the status for each decade and sign up for an email notification when more records are added to the site for a particular year.

In addition to making these records more accessible, is advancing the way people use the census by creating an interactive experience. Footnote Members can enrich the census records by adding their own contributions. For any person found in the census, users can:

* Add comments and insights about that person
* Upload and attach scanned photos or documents related to that person
* Generate a Footnote Page for any individual that features stories, a photo gallery, timeline and map
* Identify relatives found in the census by clicking the I’m Related button

“The most popular feature of our Interactive Census is the I’m Related button,” states Roger Bell, Senior Vice President of Product Development at “This provides an easy way for people to show relations and actually use the census records to make connections with others that may be related to the same person.” works with the National Archives and other organizations to add at least a million new documents and photos a month to the site. Since launching the site in January 2007, has digitized and added over 60 million original source records to the site, including records pertaining to the Holocaust, American Wars, Historical Newspapers and more.

“We will continue to move aggressively to add records to the site, specifically those that are requested by our members and others that are not otherwise available on the Internet,” said Wilding.

Visit Footnote.comicon to see how the census on can truly be an interactive experience.

October 28, 2009

Using Land Petitions to Learn about an Ancestor

Land records are very useful. Originally all land in Ontario belonged to the Crown. Although there were small areas of settlement in 1763 after the British took over,
major settlement of Upper Canada began in 1783 and utilized Crown Grants.

Most settlers bought land soon after arrival, although of course there were exceptions to this - some lived with family previously settled, others had no urgent need for land (a blacksmith didn't need land as urgently as a farmer for example)

There are many different types of land records, but the one I want to show today is the UCLP (Upper Canada Land Petitions) These are the actual Petitions for land which were submitted in Upper Canada (Ontario) . They frequently contain information about the petitioner and his or her family. Loyalists and discharged soldiers often mentioned the regiment in which they served.

The image below is an affidavit by an individual submitted as part of Albert Hainer's petition for land in the Niagara area of what is now Ontario in 1797. Affidavits were often submitted to strengthen a petitioner's claim that they were qualified to receive land under certain regulations. In this case, Albert was applying as a Loyalist and in right of his having married Catherine Vollick the daughter of a Loyalist. Albert had Robert Kerr, a well respected man in the community, write this affidavit on his behalf and it is found in the bundle of papers on file at the Ontario Archives for Albert Hainer's land petition.

Notice the variant spelling of the surname Vollick

This will certify that Albert Hainer, a Private in the late Corps of Rangers [Butler's Rangers] is married to Catharine Folluck, the daughter of Isaac Folluck, likewise a soldier in said Corps, and that she comes under the description fo a Loyalists Daughter, and entitled -- to U.E. [United Empire] and that -- Albert has now five children. Newark 14th May 1796

From this little piece of paper we learn that Albert Hainer was in Butler's Rangers so we can search the rosters for records of him. We learn that he is married to Catherine Folluck (Vollick) so we can look for a marriage record. We learn that Catherine's father is Isaac Vollick and that he too was in Butler's Rangers. We then learn that Albert and Catherine have 5 children as of May 1796 so we can try to determine the chldren's names and birth years. Lastly we see that Albert Hainer, and Isaac Vollick are Loyalists, and Catherine is a qualified DUE (Daughter of a Loyalist) so we can search for more Loyalist records on this family.

And remember, this is only one affidavit of all the papers in the bundle for Albert Hainer. Imagine what you might find for your ancestor in the Upper Canada Land Petitions.

Oompah, Oompah, Oom pah pah....

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is “Musical Instruments!”

Do you play a musical instrument or did one of your family members? What instrument did you or they play?

This Carnival seemed intriguing. I started thinking about my ancestors and realized I had no idea if any of them played a musical instrument! My father played harmonica, and I used to love sitting and listening to him. But did his parents or grandparents play anything? His grandfather whittled a wistle from a piece of wood and that whistle was passed on down in the family.

I figure that someone somwhere way back did play because I could hardly wait to get into High School so I could take Music and play in the High School Band. I'd been desperate for piano lessons since I was very little and a friend's mother taught me a few simple songs one week when I stayed at their home for a summer holiday. What a joy that was to me! But I never got to take those lessons as we were very poor and there simply was not any extra money for such things.

In High School I took French Horn. I wanted to play drums but that was only for the boys, so I opted for that shiny beautiful brass instrument. I have to admit I was somewhat disapponted as all the French Horns got to play was the alternate beat. Oomp. Pause. Oomp. Pause... and so on.

But I played for 6 years and was in the band. We travelled all over, won some competitions too. I can still remember the notes for some of the songs. In my last year, we made a record - an L.P. 33RPM. Wow, talk about dating myself! I still have the record!

I took guitar lessons - classical as well as folk, when I was in my late 20s. I didn't want to play classical but my guitar teacher encouraged me to do both and once I started, I loved it! I eventually dropped folk and stuck with classical. I was never much good but I sure loved playing. That stopped though as my arthritis worsened, it was too difficult to move my fingers fast enough or far enough to sound decent.

When I was in my 30s I decided I'd try the recorder, so I taught myself to play. We've all heard the screeching sound of a woodwind badly played by children, but if a recorder is played well it is quite pretty. Recorders were popular in medieval times - perhaps one of my English ancestors played one! I wanted to play duets so I learned the alto recorder too, then taught my husband to play the soprano recorder (usually what we hear if only one is being played). We made some great music together!

I never did get to learn piano but music has been a pretty part of my life. No one else in my family plays or is interested in playing any kind of musical instrument so I have to believe that one or more of my ancestors did play an instrument. I just wonder who it was and what they played. I have a vague memory of my father playing the spoons and I like to imagine my Irish McGinnis ancestors sitting around playing the spoons or a fiddle, neither of which I was able to master!

I think musical interest and talent is genetic to some degree, as my son is a very talented guitar player. He started lessons at age 13 (classical and instrumental) and at the age of 15 he was hired by a local restaurant to play Classical guitar for their customers once a week. He began composing classical music and bought his own recording equipment to record his songs. My cousin is also a very talented guitar player and singer whose band is doing well.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not talented at all - but I do love making music. My son and cousin however must have some genetic musical DNA from a distant musically talented ancestor.

October 27, 2009

Featured Database: St Mary's Church Records Pennsylvania

St. Mary's Church Records, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are online on Olive Tree Genealogy's Pennsylvaniapages.

These FREE transcriptions include Interments in St. Mary's Burying Ground, 1788-1800and a List of Names for Pew Rents 1787-1791 as well as a list of debtors who owed money for their pew rentals 1787-1791.

St. Mary's, built in 1763, was the second Roman Catholic institution in Philadelphia. It was the site of the first public religious commemoration of the Declaration of Independence. Members of the Continental Congress attended services four times from 1777 to 1781. George Washington worshiped at St. Marys on at least two occasions. Puritan-born John Adams came too.

October 26, 2009

Genealogies of the victims of the 1692 Salem Massachusetts witch hunt

Genealogies of the victims of the 1692 Salem Massachusetts witch hunt have been published online by the Boston Genealogy Examiner

These brief bios may help someone who is looking for an ancestor who lived in Salem during that time period.

October 25, 2009

O Where O Where Has My Ancestor Gone?

Does this sound familiar? You've hunted everywhere. You've searched online. You've checked Ancestry , FamilySearch, and as many free sites as you can find. But you can't find the marriage (or perhaps another event record) of that one elusive ancestor - your great grandfather's sister.

I was recently looking for a marriage registration online. I had the exact date (as per family records) of 24 June 1909. I had a pretty good idea of a fairly precise location (Perth County Ontario). I knew the names of both parties - Harry Ford and Sarah Icelia Foerch. I know Sarah's parents' names - Andrew and Susan.

Sounds pretty easy. Ancestry has the Ontario Marriage Registrations online for the years 1869-1924. I know from experience that a surname such as Foerch can be mispelled a variety of ways so I decide I'll look for the groom, along with the first name Sarah as the bride. I'll also use wildcards for Sarah's name to allow for the spelling Sara. So my hunt will be for groom Harry Ford and bride Sara*. I'll look in Perth County in 1909 in case the day and month are slightly off.

Nothing. Okay, remove Perth County - perhaps they married elsewhere. Nothing.

Okay, add a year or two on either side of that 1909 date. Now I'm searching for Harry Ford and Sara* marrying in Ontario 1908-1910. Still nothing!

I try searching for any child (no name) of a couple named Andrew and Susan in Perth County in 1909. Nothing found.

I try several other methods - first names only. Using ages (birth years plus or minus 2 years). Nothing.

Finally I decide to search leaving all fields blank except for the County (Perth) and the exact date June 24, 1909. I get a list of hits - not very many - and one looks slightly promising - the marriage of

William Mannington Ford to Julia Touch in Perth County
Julia Touch could be a mistranscription of Sarah Foerch using her middle name of Icelia..... Touch for Foerch is not a leap. And Sarah's father is listed as Andrew. Looks promising....

I have to chuckle at Sarah's mother's name in the index. It is "Lamber Merchant" which is obviously a mistranscription of the occupation of "Lumber Merchant", no doubt Sarah's father's occupation!

I load the image and bingo! Clearly visible is the marriage of William Harrington (not Mannington) Ford to Icelia (not Julia!) Foerch (not Touch). And there is the father Andrew Foerch, Lumber Merchant and his wife Susan.

So my Harry Ford went by the nickname Harry which of course is short for his middle name of Harrington! And Susan used her middle name of Icelia.

My search had a happy ending. Because I knew the date of the marriage and had a reasonable expectation of finding it in Perth County, I was able to find the marriage registration I wanted.

But lesson learned - expand that search! Drop the names. Use wildcards. Use other fields and leave the names blank. Search just under one field and be creative, think outside the box - and don't give up!

Remember, human error can easily creep in to make your search more difficult. So don't assume you will find every indexed database online is correctly done.

October 24, 2009

Pennsylvania Historical Society holds genealogical workshops

Four Genealogy workshops will be held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. The first workshop, "Getting Started in Genealogy," takes place on October 28. "Genealogical Resources at HSP" on November 4; "Tracing Your Civil War Ancestry" on November 11; and "Conserving Your Family Records" follow it on November 18.

If you’ve been thinking of tracing your family history but don’t know where to begin, these workshops will help orient you. You may register online There is a nominal fee for each workshop.

October 23, 2009

What's Looming on the Horizon for Lorine?

I just wanted to let my readers know that I am having surgery in 4 weeks. I'll be in hospital about 4 days then recuperating for 8 weeks.

I am not sure when I will feel up to being back at my computer (one week? two? more??) so I am preparing blog posts now and programming them to publish automatically while I'm unavailable. This means I might miss some events which come up while I am in hospital, so please bear with me during that time. (November 24-28)

For the first few weeks of December I will be publishing 3 or 4 blog posts per week but as soon as possible I'll get back in the swing of things genealogically speaking :-)

Over on my AskOliveTree blog, I am answering reader queries now and programming them to be published starting November 22nd, at one every second day. Feel free to drop by and post a genealogy challenge for me to answer! Use to write up your brick wall question.

My websites will keep humming along nicely without me for a few days so keep hunting for your ancestors at OliveTreeGenealogy and sister sites (see the list right hand side bar of this blog post)

I won't be monitoring my email for the week I am in hospital and first days back home, but hope to be back at the computer within the week, around December 1. But don't worry, you are all stuck with me until Surgery Day (Nov. 24)!

October 22, 2009

25th annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour

December 6-12, 2009 – Salt Lake City, Utah.

Join Leland K. Meitzler, and Donna Potter Phillips at the 25th annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library December 6-12, 2009.

Have a tour of the Family History Library, research your ancestors, and get help from experienced genealogists

For more information, see: , or call 801-949-7259

October 21, 2009

November 7, 2009 Genealogy Seminar in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Western Michigan Genealogical Society is sponsoring their 55th Anniversary Seminar, with The Genealogy Guys, George Morgan and Drew Smith as the featured speakers. Be sure to mark November 7 on your calendar!

More information at

October 20, 2009

Sharing's findings via Facebook, Twitter and Emai

Yesterday I tried out NEW method of sharing records via Facebook, Twitter and Email - very nice!

I found, and shared via Facebook the passenger list for my great grandparents Charles Fuller and Mary Ann Norman Caspall, coming from Kent England to visit their son Charles Jr and family in Guelph Ontario in 1930.

Apparently even those without an subscription will be able to view this record once I have shared it. What a terrific idea! It was a bit confusing to use, and at first I couldn't figure out how to share the image on Facebook. But that was because I was actually looking at the image on Ancestry and clicking on the SHARE button at the top of the image. That only gave me the option to share via email.

However, going back to the details you see when you click on the link on the index entry (not the image itself!), brings up a page with details and to the left, PAGE TOOLS. Clicking on SHARE THIS REPORT brings up the options to share via Facebook, Twitter or Email. It is not clear on the Ancestry website page, but it is the IMAGE that is shared, not the text detail. A little window opens which gives you the chance to write some explanatory text about what you are sharing.

I'm so excited at the thought that I can now share my Genealogy research much more quickly and easily with my family who are linked to me on Facebook.

October 19, 2009

NYGBR Research Trip November 4-6, 2009

The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society is sponsoring a three-day research trip to the New York State Archives and Library in Albany, New York. Event will run from November 4-6, 2009

Registrants will receive three days of assisted research at the Library and Archives, plus social events.

To register, contact Lauren Maehrlein, education “at”, phone 212-755-8532, ext. 36, or register online

October 13, 2009

Tutorial: Using British Newspapers 1800-1900

British Newspapers, 1800-1900 is a fantastic site with over two million pages of 19th century newspapers. However with such a large database it becomes nessasary to find ways of narrowing your search so you can find the info you want quickly.

One way to narrow your search is to Browse publication by location. This will allow you to narrow your search to the geographical location that you are interested in. To do this simply choose the Browse by Location tab located in the navigation bar near the top of the screen. This will bring you up a map of England, Scotland and Ireland. On the map you will find blue icons that correspond to newspapers for that location. For example if you click on London you will get a list of London newspapers to choose from.

If you find you are interested in one of the Newspapers simply click on it and it will take you to a page containing information on that paper. You will also find several different ways to search the paper depending on your personal preference.

On the left you will find a search box labeled Search within this publication. This will allow you to search the entire database for that newspaper. So for example if you are looking for any Smiths that were ever mentioned in that newspaper this will bring them all up.

However you can also search a specific issue of the paper. This feature is handy when you are looking for a event that you have a good idea of the date. For example if you are looking for an obit for great grandpa smith and you know he died on October 15th 1900 then you would go and look at first issue published after that date. To search a specific date, simply start back on the page containing the information on that paper. If you look down the page you will see an About this Publication box that you can use to pick the publication date of your choice.

I'm hoping to explore British Newspapers 1800-1900 more fully over the next week and will post about my experiences plus any tips I can share to help genealogists use this wonderful website!

October 12, 2009

British Newspapers, 1800-1900 available online

The following press release about British Newspapers 1800-1900 was sent to Olive Tree Genealogy from Gale, part of Cengage Learning. I explored the site briefly and was very impressed! My first experiences using the site will be published here tomorrow so stay tuned!

Farmington Hills, MI, September 24, 2009 – Gale, part of Cengage Learning, along with The British Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), have made nineteenth-century British newspapers available on the internet. The database, known as British Newspapers, 1800-1900 gives users access to over two million newspaper pages from 49 different national and regional newspapers from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Chosen by leading experts and academics, the newspapers represent a cross-section of nineteenth-century society and contain illustrated materials on a variety of topics, including business, sports, politics and entertainment.

Providing the historical news content needed to track the lives of ancestors, “British Newspapers, 1800-1900” is a powerful new resource for genealogists and family historians, providing access to property and legal notices, marriage and birth announcements, illustrations and photographs. Users are able to search for relatives by name or keyword with additional resources available including biographies, timelines and publication histories.

This web site also offers users a unique opportunity to travel back in time to uncover rarely read accounts of nineteenth-century events as if they were historians stumbling upon long-lost artifacts. Whether it be a fascination with the East End of London at the time of the Whitechapel murders, “the hunting grounds of some of the lowest and most degraded types of humanity” (Penny Illustrated Paper, Sept. 1888), or an affinity for Civil War history and Abraham Lincoln, a man who “had in him not only the sentiments which women love, but the heavier metal of which full-grown men and Presidents are made” (Penny Illustrated Paper, Oct. 1861), this database offers historians, genealogists, researchers and anyone with a curiosity for nineteenth-century history the opportunity to read first-hand accounts of momentous events.

Many key anniversaries and world-changing events -- the Economic Panics of 1857 and 1873, the abolition of slavery, the Great Potato Famine, the California Gold Rush, the settling of the American frontier and many more -- are documented and available via a few keystrokes. Users can also access work from celebrated authors of the nineteenth-century, including Charles Dickens and William Thackeray.

“‘British Newspapers, 1800-1900’ places the fascinating events of the nineteenth century at the fingertips of genealogists, researchers, historians and consumers,” said Jim Draper, Vice President and Publisher, Gale. “We are honored to be able to give audiences around the world access to content that was once only available to a small audience who had access to local library reading rooms in the United Kingdom.”

To make this collection available to users, Gale turned The British Library's collection of nineteenth-century newspapers into a high-resolution digital format with searchable images. The database presents online access to a key set of primary sources for the study of nineteenth-century history. For the 49 newspapers selected, every front page, editorial, birth and death notice, advertisement and classified ad that appeared within their pages is easily accessible from what is a virtual chronicle of history for this period. Users of the database can search every word on every page.

“This web site was developed with the researcher in mind,” said Simon Bell, Head of Strategic Licensing and Partnerships, The British Library. “There is a huge appetite for wider online access to this kind of resource and we are pleased that so many researchers and journalists have used the web site to research material which enables users across the world to delve into this unrivaled online resource.”

Searches of the site are free and downloads of full-text articles are available by purchasing either a 24-hour pass or a seven-day pass. Content from The Penny Illustrated Paper and The Graphic is available free.

For more information, please visit or

October 11, 2009

Death Reports of American Citizens Abroad, 1910-1974

Death Reports of American Citizens Abroad, 1910-1974 is now online on

Death Reports of American Citizens Abroad includes records of the U.S. consular officers that reported to the Department of State the names of U.S. citizens who died within their consular districts. These death reports commonly provide acceptable documentation in the English language for cases in which satisfactory proof of an American death might be very difficult to obtain in any other form.

More death records can be found at The free death records on Ancestors At Rest include Coffin Plates, Funeral Cards, Obituaries, Cemetery records and more.

Don't miss our Ancestor Death Record Finder to help you in your search for an ancestor's death.

October 10, 2009

What's New in Ships Passenger Lists online has just added Honolulu, Hawaii Passenger Lists, 1900-1953 – The Honolulu Passenger Lists consists of inbound vessel passenger manifests for the period February 1900 to December 1953 and provides a unique insight into non-traditional ports of entry.

There are many ships passenger lists online now for genealogists to search for their ancestors. Here are a few

Ancestry's Immigration Records Collection includes arrivals in New York (Castle Garden, Ellis Island), Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and more

For Canadian arrivals see Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 ( Also see Canadian Passenger Lists Before 1865.

Outgoing Ships Passenger Lists from North America are found on and Outbound Pasenger Lists on Ships Lists Online

October 6, 2009

OliveTreeGenealogy Blog nominated in Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs

OliveTreeGenealogy Blog is honoured to be one of the nominees in the News & Resources Category in Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs

Categories are: All-around; Personal & Family; Local & Regional; Cemetery; Photos & Heirlooms; Heritage; News & Resources; How-To; Genealogy Companies; and Genetic Genealogy.

Voting is open for the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs. Be sure to go and cast your votes for your favourite Genealogy blog in each category. If you like OliveTreeGenealogy blog please vote for it but if you have other favourites vote for them! Just vote.

The top 80 genealogy blogs with the most votes will go to one more round of voting, then the final top 40 will be chosen.

October 1, 2009

Unmarked Graves at Staten Island Cemetery Receive Grave Markers

September 30, 2009 NEW YORK – Early this morning, 266 previously unmarked graves of indigent Jews buried at Mount Richmond Cemetery on Staten Island were given modest gravemarkers by the non-profit organization who arranged their funerals. Hebrew Free Burial Association, a 120-year-old organization that has buried 60,000 indigent New York Jews who couldn’t afford burials, has in recent years dedicated itself to marking every grave in its cemeteries with a simple monument noting the name and years of life of the deceased.

Leave Your Mark is a program to install simple permanent markers at unmarked graves in Mt. Richmond Cemetery. Almost 15,000 unmarked graves, dating back to 1909, have been marked so far, through the generosity of donors and foundations.

The Hebrew Free Burial Association has cared for indigent Jews in the New York City area since 1888, burying 60,000 Jews who, due to a family or economic situation, would not be given a proper Jewish burial.

Continue reading at Yeshiva World News