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July 30, 2011

Genealogy Challenge - Care to Have a Guess?

Oliver Price Jones?
Opinions and guesses wanted. Yes I do want my readers to have a look at this name and give their best guess as to what it is.

The name is "OLIVER PRICE xxxxx". What is the last name?

At first I thought the upper case letter was a "T" but it doesn't match how the writer formed other "T" as in "Thomas"

T seems to be just a straight hard horizontal bar on top of a vertical stick. No little "thingey" sticking out the left side as in this letter

Upper Case "T"
Here's another example of upper case T.  It is nothing like the first letter of Oliver Price's surname.

Upper case letter "F" in Farrier and Foster
Then I thought perhaps it is "F"? But look at the word "Farrier" and "Foster-father" F isn't formed the same way as the start of this surname. F has a distinct horizontal line/bar through the middle and a curving top that looks almost like a Y.

The first letter in the surname above does not have that "Y" top.

My final thought is "J". Perhaps the surname is JONES or JANES?

I am unable to find this individual as the time of this document is 1940. The place is England - Streatham in Wandsworth to be exact. But I've no way of knowing where Oliver lives.  I suspect Oliver was born before 1885 but have no way of knowing that for sure either. I also have a hunch that PRICE might be PREECE but again - no proof, nothing but a hunch....

All ideas/suggestions/opinions welcome! And if you find Oliver Price unknown in any record I'd be forever grateful. 

July 29, 2011

No Biggie But a Couple of Google+ Tips For You

Playing in the Google+ playground is fun. I've been to a lot of Hangouts, have set up a couple myself and am making lots of new genealogy friends!

It's an adventure and it's new so there's lots to discover. I thought I'd tell you about a couple of neat things I found out you can do on Google+  Now maybe everyone but me already knew this but in case you didn't...

1. You can share a URL or a note with one person. Let me give you an example. My husband hates IM. He refuses to set it up, won't use Gmail chat or Facebook chat or AOL Buddy. So I have no quick way to send him a link to an article he might find interesting or useful. Of course I could email him but he only picks up his mail once or twice a day (can you imagine???!!! Mine is open whenever my computer is turned on)

But he is on Google+. So today I had a link for a story he might want to read. I went to my Stream (Home page) in Google+  and put the link into my SHARE box. I then chose ONLY his name to share with and hit SEND. He got it in two places - his email and his Google+ Stream. It was almost instantaneous. He liked it in Google+ because it also showed him a photo, a bit of text and the link to the article.

No one but him will see this link because I also disabled the ability for it to be reshared or commented on.

Joan's Default PopUp Profile Box
2. Want a longer description that displays when folks hold their cursor over your Profile Photo box in Google+? The default is a few words that you entered on your Profile page. I'm using my friend Joan Miller of Luxegen Genealogy's Profile page and popup as an example of the default.
Well here's my tip for you - go to the About part of your Profile.

Choose "Edit Profile" In the "employment" area, write up a brief bio and put it in the spot for your employment. Click the "current" box and Save it.

Now when someone hovers their cursor over your name and photo, your bio will display.

Lorine's Extended Profile Box PopUp
Here's what my popup looks like now. I like that people who find me on Google+ can now see at a glance what I'm all about. If they want to they can continue on to my Profile page to learn more.

July 28, 2011

Ancestor Stepping Stones: More Genealogy Fun With Children

My two oldest grandchildren are coming in August for their annual week-long stay with us. As many of my readers know, we always create a genealogy activity to do while they are here.

Lorine's Stepping Stone
for Grandma
This year we've decided to create Ancestor Stepping Stones. These will be stones that make a pathway leading from Point A to Point B.

We live on a 100 acre hobby farm and have lots of room to make pathways - in the vegetable gardens, in the gravel garden, from the back deck to the animal fields, from the house to the forest..... we can create dozens of paths if we want to.

Our idea is that each Stepping Stone will have an ancestor's name as well as years of birth and death. Each child creates a stone for themself, then decides which parent they want to add. Because these are Ancestor stepping stones, the grandparent chosen by the child needs to be either the father or mother of the parent they chose.

We'll discuss the different ways they could tackle this  - do they want to follow the male line? The female? A mix of both? Maybe they want to put two names on one stone, for example they might want to make a stone that reads "My grandparents Joseph & Ellen Smith" or "My grandparents Joseph Smith & Ellen Jones" or just "Joseph Smith 1898-1957" (These are invented names by the way)

Working on Grandma's Stone
Their own stone should have their name and date of birth or age, plus the date they created the stone. They could add many different items - hand prints or perhaps a few words that best sums up their likes or explains who they are. For example one might put "Sally Smith, age 10.  Bieber Fever!" Or little Sally might put "Sally Smith age 10. Love fashion & my iPod" It's their choice.

Of course we'll talk about the ancestors for whom the children are going to create stones. We'll also talk about how they are leaving their mark and a bit of history for future generations by creating these stones.

 Colour Added to Hub's Stone
The first step is to buy clear plastic holders for plants. These will be our molds.

Next my husband will mix the cement and pour it into the molds. We have powdered colours that can be added to the cement, so the grandchildren can also choose what colour they want each stone to be. It's going to be tricky to work on more than one mold at a time so I think we will likely create one each day they are here.

After waiting about an hour for the cement to partially set, the children will be able to write or print the name of the ancestor on their mold. Then they can add decorations such as coloured marbles or coloured glass, beads, etc. They can also use items to stamp designs into the mold or create them freehand.

Hubs working on his stone
After the decorating is done, we'll let the cement set and then ease it out of it's clear plastic mold. By the time their visit is over they should have at least 5 ancestor stepping stones done and ready to be laid in the garden.

We have completed a prototype ahead of time so that we know what we're doing when the kids are here! I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and I can also have my other 7 grandchildren create their paths when they come for a visit.

July 27, 2011

PadPivot for iPad: A Review

PadPivot strapped to leg
My PadPivot arrived last week. It's a special swivel holder for the iPad, Kindle, Nook and a few other devices. Ordering the PadPivot was an interesting experience. I was one of the many thousands of backers (4,823 by their official count) who used Kickstarter to back the project in its infancy.

For a pledge of $25.00 I was a backer. My pledge would provide me with one PadPivot, a small carry pouch, a tether strap to hold PadPivot on my leg when in use and a dust cover to protect the Grip Plate. Oh, and the bonus was free shipping for USA and Canada. Canada is rarely included in special deals like that so I was pretty happy.

Pledging meant you were backing the development of the product with your money. So you waited. You waited until the protoype units were built, the final unit manufactured, tested and ready to ship. But I didn't mind as my credit card wasn't billed for the pledge for several months. Mind you there were setbacks and I had to wait another 4 months before my unit was shipped. But the two inventors of the PadPivot kept all backers up to date with constant emails and videos.

Yesterday I asked my husband to give the PadPivot a test run for me. He used it for several hours and pronounced it of good quality. He liked that it allowed him to have his hands free for texting on his iPhone while using his iPad! He noted that his arm gets tired after holding his iPad for a few hours so this was a great way to rest his arms.

Using iPad with PadPivot
Two things that he found disconcerting were:

1. Swiveling the iPad to horizontal postion on PadPivot made him feel that it was going to fall off his leg (it didn't and he noted that you could just tighten the tether strap)

2. Because he had to keep getting up to attend to the dogs or answer the phone, he found it annoying to have to remove the PadPivot.  That reinforced his decision that he would not use PadPivot for casual use but rather for extended periods on his iPad. But I pointed out that he could have set the landline phone on the table beside him.

Hubs thinks it would be a great thing to have if you were on a long airplane flight or in some other situation where you were going to use your iPad for an extended period of time. His final summation was that if you use your iPad a lot it is well worth the money.

July 26, 2011

Hangouts on Google+ : A New Way to Connect

I've been playing quite a bit in Google+ over the last two weeks. I'm liking it. One of the features I've been focusing on is Hangouts. Hangouts are a way of using your webcam and microphone to have up to 10 people together in a chat. You can start a hangout and announce it to specific circles (groups of people you have added) or to everyone. Anyone who sees the notice can join the hangout.

That's something to be aware of. You can't kick anyone out of a hangout so if you are just dipping your toe in the hangout water, you might want to start one that is known only to your best friends or family members. Each hangout has its own URL. That URL can be shared as a link to invite others. However, only Google+ users are able to join.

Or just join one that you see already in progress. Once you get comfortable with the idea, jump in and start your own. You can start a hangout from the stream whenever you want. You can either go to or  click the blue Start a Hangout button on the side of your stream.

Once you are in a Hangout you see a horizontal bar of video images of those who are in the hangout.  Whenever someone starts talking, their video image pops up as the large image above the horizontal bar of smaller images. That way you know who's talking. You can mute their video or microphone if you don't want to see or hear  someone (perhaps they are behaving badly or they've got noise interference or... ). You can also mute your own.  It's nice if participants mute theirs if they're racked with a coughing spasm! You can unmute at any time. You can also text chat while in the video chat.

We did that yesterday in a hangout as we had a participant who is deaf. She lip reads but because her lag was so extreme she could not see the lips of those talking. So we typed in the chat window to help keep her up to speed on what was being discussed. I suggested that she consider starting a weekly hangout where she could teach sign language to anyone interested. I'd attend! She seemed to like the idea so today I'm going to write to her to encourage her to set one up.

Google+ Hangout
Yesterday I spent an interesting hour discussing genealogy and some technical aspects of Google + in Mark Olsen's Marathon Hangout which has been going for over six days now. Mark contacted me earlier in the day to ask why I'd not dropped in and to invite me to join him for an hour dedicated to discussing genealogy and Google+.  I'm glad I went! It was great to meet new people and to hear new ideas.

I've been thinking a lot about the use of Hangouts and one thing I'd like to try is using Hangouts for family chats. My idea is to arrange a time and day (perhaps once monthly) then let siblings, nieces, nephews and kids know.  They would all be in my circle called FAMILY. 

So I would start the hangout and invite only that circle. Family members who want to join in could do so. It would be so nice to have all of us able to see and hear each other and even the grandchildren could gather around to participate with their parents. In effect you'd have a virtual Family Reunion. And my readers know how much I love Family Reunions!

July 25, 2011

Help Needed to Return WW2 Dog Tag to Soldier's Descendants

Rod wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy asking for my help in locating George H. Stevens. Here is Rod's email and a photo of the dog/ID tag

I found George H. Stevens dogtag in my deceased father-in-law’s belongings and want to return it to the owner or his family. My father-in-law served in the Pacific including Iwo Jima.

George H. Stevens Dog Tag/ID Tag


Note from Lorine:

If you have information please post it as a comment here on Olive Tree Genealogy blog OR send it to me privately at olivetreegenealogy @ (remove the spaces before you send)

Please don't post  information that might be about living individuals here on the blog

With the help of dedicated readers, we've had great success on Olive Tree Genealogy and on Ask Olive Tree Blog finding descendants of soldiers to return dog ID tags. Let's send this dog tag home!

UPDATE July 27th: I asked Rod for more details on his father-in-law's service in case that would help us find George. Here is Rod's note:

My father-in-law, Terrence Lee Rhoades, enlisted in Jacksonville, Florida.  He served in the Pacific including landing at Iwo Jima.  At wars end he was sent to China before returning to the United States.

He served his country until 1969 including being severely wounded in Vietnam.

July 23, 2011

Geneabloggers Radio Show - I did it!

Last night I stayed up past my bedtime to be the last of 3 guests on Geneabloggers Radio Show "Until We Meet Again: Family Reunions and Genealogy" Guests were Edith Wagner, founder, publisher and editor of Reunions magazine and; Marilyn Stewart, better known as “Aunt Mo” who runs the Family Reunion Helper website; and me - Lorine McGinnis Schulze

It was a bit nerve-wracking but thanks to Thomas MacEntee's skill as host, it didn't take long for me to feel relaxed and comfortable. If you missed the show, enjoy it now!

Listen to internet radio with GeneaBloggers on Blog Talk Radio

If for any reason you can't listen to the show here on Olive Tree Genealogy blog, visit the BlogTalk Radio site to hear all three of us give our views on how to hold a fun and successful family reunion.

July 22, 2011

Finding a Family Tree on With Only a User Name

I often see questions about how to find a Family Tree on when all you know is the submitter's Ancestry UserName. Here's how you do it:

1. Search the Ancestry Member Directory at the Community pages at

2. Click the tab labelled BASIC INFORMATION

3.  Fill out the field labelled USER NAME and click SEARCH

4. In the results, find the user name you want and click on it. A list of their family trees, message board posts and a way to contact them pops up.

5. Click on the family tree you want to view

Have fun!

July 21, 2011

D.A.R. Needs a Wakeup Call re DNA Evidence

Recently I read in the Washington Post about an application for acceptance into the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) lineage society. The first application was refused so the individual resubmitted using DNA results as part of the proof required. The DAR refused to accept it saying they do not accept DNA results as evidence of relationships.

This attitude puzzles me. Why would a society or organization that is supposed to be dedicated to finding the truth of relationships rule out a piece of that evidence? DNA testing is a piece of the puzzle. It's not the final answer but surely it counts towards finding the answer.

If census records, vital statistics and other documented life events  carry weight towards proving a relationship from Person A to Person B, it seems to me that excluding DNA evidence is extremely short-sighted.

Kudos to those lineage societies who do allow DNA testing as part of the submission process. Shouldn't all lineage societies keep up with technology and embrace new methods of finding the truth about our ancestors and our descent? I'm not saying the DAR was wrong to refuse the original applicaton, but I am saying they need to keep up with emerging technologies and allow DNA to be part of the proof submitted by an applicant.

July 20, 2011

Shutterfly - I'm Loving it!

My Photo Book Cover
Yesterday a package arrived in the mail. It was the photo book I created using Shutterfly, an online self-publishing service.

This particular photo book is a 43 page 8x8 soft cover featuring one of my sons from birth to adulthood.  It looks great!

Readers might remember that I've also used Lulu and wrote about my experiences with that self-publishing site in a previous post.

I have to say that I prefer Shutterfly. The user interface is easy to use. The templates are very nice and there are many choices.

 You start your photo book by choosing Custom Path or Simple Path.

Custom Path has more choices and you can have more photos on each page  but it is a bit more complicated. Uploading your photos is not quite as easy on Custom Path as on Simple Path.

I actually created two photo books, one using Simple Path, the other using Custom Path. Here's a little comparison chart to show some of uthe differences:

Custom Path
*1-25 photos per page
*max 1000 photos
*5 sizes of books
*priced from $12.99
*multiple text boxes per page
*lots of choice of layouts, fonts, backgrounds etc
*spell check
*stickers, word art, etc
*use own photo as background
*many font choices including colour, style etc
*upload photos via Shutterfly account, Your
computer, Share sites or Facebook
Simple Path
*1-4 photos per page
*max 400 photos
*5 sizes of books
*priced from $12.99
*one caption per page
*established layouts
*no spell check
*no stickers, word art
*can't use own photo as background
*standard fonts
*upload photos via Shutterfly account, Your
computer, Share sites,  Facebook or Picasa

I liked both methods - Simple and Custom Path but I preferred the creative control and options I had with Custom Path. The only drawback to Custom Path for me was that I couldn't use PIcasa to upload my photos. Using it made things fast and easy. But I found a way around that restriction by creating a Shutterfly account and using Picasa to upload my photos before choosing my book template.

Inside page of photo book
Creating my photo books was a snap. The first time I let Shutterfly insert the photos where it wanted and automatically create a book for me. Then I just moved photos around as I wanted. That proved a bit tedious so next time I had Shutterfly upload my photos but not do any arranging on my behalf. I found that much easier and less confusing as I could see all my photos in my photo tray.

When I used Custom Path I had fun switching backgrounds and themes until I found the one I liked best.  All in all it was a simple matter to insert photos, write some descriptive text for each one and then publish my books. I'll definitely choose Shutterfly over Lulu for my next photo book projects.

Christmas isn't that far away and I'm excited about creating some amazing photo books for my family.

Disclaimer: Shutterfly did not ask me to write this review, nor did I receive any compensation for writing it.

July 19, 2011

Olive Tree Genealogy to be a Guest on GeneaBloggers Radio!

I am super excited to be a guest on GeneaBloggers Radio on Friday, July 22, 2011 starting at 10pm Eastern, 9pm Central, 8pm Mountain and 7pm Pacific with special host DearMYRTLE discussing Until We Meet Again! - Family Reunions and Genealogy.

Quoting from the website:

"Our special guests will include: Edith Wagner, founder, publisher and editor of Reunions magazine and; Marilyn Stewart, better known as “Aunt Mo” who runs the Family Reunion Helper website; and Lorine McGinnis Schulze of the Olive Tree Genealogy Website. We’ll be discussing how to plan your next family reunion, how to include fun activities for all ages, and how to include your genealogy research to share with family reunion participants. "
Won't you join me on Friday night? It should be a fun show!

July 18, 2011

Family Fun Day - Let the Games Begin!

Family Fun Day was Saturday. It was a record day heat-wise - 32' Celsius and humid with no breeze. Phew. We had lots of water on hand although every family member and friend brought plenty to keep themselves hydrated. We had a turnout of 26 (7 of those were children aged 3 to 9)  as a few who were slated to come had to opt out at the last minute.

I like to let folks mingle for about an hour and then we start the organized games. The events were all genealogy themed and based on an actual event in an ancestor's life. See  Part 1 , Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 of this series of Genealogy Games for a family reunion. Finally I can tell you about the actual events!

Wampum Central
Found the beads!
Wampum Central.  Based on our Dutch ancestor Cornelis Van Slyke in New Netherland (New York) in 1637. Wampum was used as money instead of paper or coin. Teams had to find two red, two black, one green and one white bead buried in a wading pool full of corn. Then they had to string the beads on to a piece of embroidery thread, add a guinea feather and show Cornelis Van Slyke (played by me) to get their egg and next clue. At this event, the children jumped into the wading pool and were covered in white corn powder by the time they found their beads.

Apple Alimony. Based on my ancestor Albert Andriessen de Noorman who was ordered by the courts in 1680s to pay his ex-wife Geertruy 80 bushels of apples yearly as alimony.  Teams had to take a small plastic basket and fill it with apples from our apple trees then find Geertruy (played by my 87 year old auntie!) for their next egg and clue.

Eileen Vollick Flight School. Based on our cousin's achievement of becoming the first woman in Canada to get a pilot's licence in 1917. Teams had to toss frisbees (which I decorated with photos of Eileen in her flight uniform and plane) through a swinging hula hoop.

The Deer

The Shooters
Deer Run. Based on our Mohawk ancestors Ots-Toch and her son It-sy-cho-sa-quach-ka (his non native name was Jacques Van Slyke). We set out nerf guns and a nerf bow and arrow as well as small brightly coloured rubber balls. Teams had to stand behind the coloured ropes and watch for deer (played by my husband who hid behind a shed and scampered out to dart and weave and taunt the shooters). A direct hit by any weapon on the table earned them their next egg and clue. A great favourite with adults and children alike!

  Steve Peer Niagara Falls Tightrope Walk. Based on my great grandfather's cousin who walked Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Teams had to walk across 3 planks raised about 6 inches from the ground.

Carrying the Babies

Obstacle Tires
Mary Vollick's Escape From New York. Based on my Loyalist ancestor's wife flight from New York during the American Revolution. American patriots turned her and her 10 small children out of their home, burned the house to the ground then marched her into the woods several miles and left her there. She managed to get all of her children to safety in Montreal Canada. Teams had to carry 10 stuffed animals to safety through an obstacle course. The catch was that only one team member could carry the stuffed animals but the entire team had to complete the course.

Tee for Two. A golf maze based on Scottish ancestors. I set out croquet wickets and buried small cups in the ground. Teams had to use a tiny children's golf set to get their golf ball from the starting point, through the wickets and into the cup at the end.
Grenade Event

Grenade Event
WW2 Grenade Training. Based on my dad's service in WW2. Teams wore toy helmets and tossed toy grenades into a hula hoop on the ground. The children loved this game!
Ancestor Match. A puzzle game. I printed off 24 head and shoulder shots of ancestors and baby photos of some of those attending Family Fun Day, then printed out 26 names. Teams had to match names to photos.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and after we had all cooled down, we had our corn roast with barbeque chicken and hot dogs plus salads and desserts. Then the children went frog hunting at one of our smaller ponds and ended their day with ATV rides with my husband. Lots of fun and I can hardly wait til next year to do it again.

July 16, 2011

FamilyTreeDNA is Having a Sale!

Family Tree DNA is having a sale. If you've been thinking about getting your DNA tested, now's the time! Here is their official notice

Y-DNA37 for $119 (Regular price would be $149)

Y-DNA67 for $199 (Regular price would be $239)

Family Finder for $199 (Regular price would be $289)

Family Finder + Y-DNA37 for $318 (Regular price would be $438)

Family Finder + mtDNAPlus for $318 (Regular Price would be $438)

mtDNA Full Sequence for $219 (Regular Price would be $299)

SuperDNA for $418 (Regular Price would be $518, includes Y-DNA67 and mtFullSequence)

Comprehensive Genome for $617 (Regular Price would be $797, includes Y-DNA67, mtFullSequence and Family Finder)

In addition, existing Family Tree DNA customers may order the Family Finder add-on for $199

Place orders at Family Tree DNA

The promotion will start today, Friday the 15th at 6PM CDT and will end Thursday, July 21, 11:59PM CDT. Kits need to be paid for by the end of the promotion.

Prices will be changed across the website, therefore no coupons are needed

July 15, 2011

NEHGS English Research Tour

NEHGS Announcement

English Research Tour

September 25, 2011 3:00PM - October 2, 2011 12:00PM

London, United Kingdom

Discover the wealth of information available in London's repositories as NEHGS returns to London in 2011. Participants will take part in two group dinners, consultations, and guided research tours through the Society of Genealogists (SOG) and the National Archives (UK).

To learn more about upcoming events, programs, and tours, visit to register online or download a registration form. Please mail your registration form to:

NEHGS, Education & Tours

Attn: Joshua Taylor

99-101 Newbury Street

Boston, MA 02116-3007

For more information call 1-888-296-3447, or e-mail

July 14, 2011 Adds New Genealogy Records

A press release from looks interesting! Lots of new goodies here

Archives Adds 17 Million U.S. Vital and Military Records

We're excited to announce that today there are 17 million new U.S. vital and military records available on! The addition of these records will help family historians trace more ancestors through than ever before possible. This also demonstrates Archives' commitment to continually bringing users high-value historical content.

These new birth, death, marriage, and military records make up 30 unique collections. Here is a quick summary of the new records:

Military Records

·         Military Personnel Records - this exciting compilation includes personnel records from the Vietnam War and Gulf War eras. With nearly 16 million in all, these records provide information about individuals who served in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and National Guard.

Vital Records

·         Texas Birth, Death, and Marriage Records - these records date anywhere from 1800 to 2011 and cover the following counties: Fort Bend, El Paso, Cooke, Montgomery, Tarrant, Burnet, Hood, Denton, and Kaufman. There are 1.4 million new Texas records in total.

·         Colorado Marriage and Death Records - newly added Colorado records are from Delta County, a region located in the western part of the state. Over nine thousand new records have been added.

·         South Carolina Marriage Records - this collection of four thousand early South Carolina marriages covers years 1641 to 1799.

To find your ancestors in these new records, log in to and run a search. We'll return all matching records, many of which may be new since the last time you visited!

July 13, 2011

GoGoNavigator & Live Traffic App for iPhone

Gogo Navigator USA & CAN is a real-time 3D navigation app for the iPhone. It features real-3D, Live Traffic (an in-app purchase add-on), Text-To-Speech voice guidance, Lane Guidance, Signpost Display, and  more.

There are so many options in Gogo Navigator that when I first downloaded the app I was overwhelmed. There are many cool features such as the voice commands and the 3-D display.  I had a little trouble understanding the voice commands but hubs had no problem at all. I think some minor tweaking at my end to adjust volume level will likely solve the bit of trouble I had.

Hubs and I have always had problems on our road trips. And we make a lot of genealogy road trips! So Gogo Navigator seemed like a good fit for us.

I did notice that my iPhone battery drained quickly when I was in Gogo Navigator but that's common to any GPS system on your phone. A quick side trip to the Gogo Navigator website gave me the solution. I had a few choices to minimize battery drain but the one I used (and it works well) was to be sure to use the QUIT button in Gogo Navigator instead of just using my Home button on my iPhone to go to another app. Using the QUIT button ensures that the GPS is not running in the background. Easy to do and a perfect solution. Also when in the car, and using Gogo Navigator on your iPhone as your GPS of choice, you can plug your iPhone in and the battery won't drain.

I've been using Gogo Navigator for a week now and what I love best about it is the Live Traffic Report. Live Traffic, with information provided by Clear Channel Total Traffic Network. gives you an up-to-date report on road conditions on your route Are roads closed? How long are they expected to be closed? Is traffic slow but the roads are open? These questions and more are answered on LiveTraffic.

To access LiveTraffic you choose your destination, then Gogo Menu and then Traffic (the bottom middle button). The next screen takes you to Traffic List screen and a choice of All Messages or On My Route.

This is an example of what you see in Live Traffic. I had chosen a location in Pennsylvania as my destination and Live Traffic brought up several screens of traffic information (in order from my house to my destination) 

The icons tell  me what the problem is - construction, road closure, etc. I can click on the right arrow (beak) for details including what the problem is and how long it is expected to last. The exact time the problem arose is also given.

The next road trip hubs and I take for genealogy research should be much less stressful. We use a GPS system already and it saves us lots of headaches as we head out to unknown cemeteries, libraries or museums in cities and towns unfamiliar to us. But I'm going to use Gogo Navigator on our next trip. With the Live Traffic add-on in Gogo Navigator it should all be smooth sailing!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review but I was  provided with the app at no cost so I could review it. I tested it on my iPhone 3GS using IOS 4.2.1 and the version of Gogo Navigator  I used is 1.2.0

July 12, 2011

Genealogy Games for a Family Reunion: Ancestor Match (Part 4)

The family members and friends coming to our Family Fun Day this Saturday range in age from 3 years old to 87 years old. That was one of the things I had to take into account when setting up games and events. It's always an option to sit out but I wanted to have a few activities that might suit either end of the ages.

One activity I've organized as part of the Amazing Ancestor Race is a puzzle I call Ancestor Match. It should allow the older participants to catch up to the younger ones who will almost certainly get through the first few events quickly.

Ancestor Match

Ancestor Match
First I printed photos of ancestors as well as photos of those attending the Family Fun Day. The photos of those attending are when they were children.  I have 24 photos.

Then on another piece of paper I listed all the names of those in the photos and threw in two extra, so there are 26 names. It's an easy game - participants are asked to match names to photos.

To make it a bit easier I assigned numbers to each name so those playing only have to write a number under the correct photo.

Because not everyone will know who the ancestors are, I also created pedigree charts with photos and those will be on the wall. The observant family members and friends who spot the charts should realize that there are clues there.
See  Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 of this series of Genealogy Games for a family reunion.

July 11, 2011

Jumping on the Google+ Bandwagon

Last week I finally got an invite to join Google+. Why do I say "finally"? Because invites have been few and far between, and even those who were lucky enough to receive an early invitation were often shut out. Google opted to keep the doors to Google+ shut much of the time, preferring instead to control how many new members were using the site at any one time.

If you don't know what Google+ is, it's actually called the Google+ Project. That's its official name. You can read about it at the official website. I love going there because I get a little notice saying I'm part of a small group of people who are helping to test this new offering by Google. Makes me feel important!

All levity aside, Google+ is pretty cool. It's a new social networking site and having played around in it for several days now I'm categorizing it as a combination of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype. A good combination. Google does it well.


In Google+ you have Circles. They consist of your social network. Your Circles can hold  friends, family members, business associates, people whose comments you want to follow but you don't necessarily know. You set your own circles and then you simply click and drag to drop people into them. It's a great interface and easily managed. People can be in more than one circle and that's important if you want to filter your news stream.

For example, I have 91 people in my circles now. That's not very many but the chatter on my news stream is constant and sometimes overwhelming. So I put some of those 91 people into a second circle I called "FAVS". Now I can filter my news stream to only see posts by those people in my FAVS circle. I can still see the others by choosing any circles I want, or all my circles. So I might pull in my FAVS several times a day but only pull in all my circles once a day.


Google+ also has Hangouts. These are Video Chats where you very quickly start a Hangout by dragging and dropping a friend or an entire Circle into the Hangout with you. Bingo you are chatting. You can enable or disable your webcam if you're in your PJs and someone drags you into a Hangout. You can also mute your microphone and simply chat by text. I haven't actually been to a Hangout yet. I started one but no one was online that I was comfortable chatting with. I want to start with a good friend or family member first. 


In Sparks you choose an interest (I chose "genealogy") and add it to your personal Sparks. Sparks then provides you with a constant feed of news about your topic of interest. It's easy to keep up with the latest happenings and share things with other friends who have the same interests. I've got "genealogy" and "recipes" going right now but am going to play with Sparks and see what else I can get. It's kind of like a Google Alert except it's not coming into your email box.


This is what I'm loving most about Google+. When I am in my gmail account for example, I can see my Google+ notifications at a glance. I can comment on posts directly from my gmail. I can see who has added me to their circles and I can add them to mine right in my gmail account. No need to open another browser window or leave my mail program. This is a big plus in my opinion.


Profiles are your personal page with your information. You share what you wish to share and you have complete control over your privacy settings. One thing I suggest is that when you join Google+ take a few minutes and fill out your Profile completely, including a photo, before you start adding people to your Circles. It will make it much easier for your friends to determine if you are the right Sally Smith they want to have in their circle if they can see a photo and a little information about you!


I've got a lot more exploring to do in Google+ and I've got a lot more to learn about how things work and how I can make it work for me. But I've learned a couple of things that might be of interest to some of my readers.

Vanity URL

Your default profile page link is long and unwieldy. But Google+ has a way for you to make it memorable. You simply add your gmail account name (mine is olivetreegenealogy) to  So mine becomes  (Add me to your circles if you are on Google+ and want to connect)

If you don't have a gmail account you can choose any available username to tack onto the end of

I don't advise using a third party service such as gplus (which is not a Google service) to create a vanity URL. Why would you do that when Google+ does it for you quickly and easily?


Many of us are genealogy bloggers and we want our blog posts or titles to go to Twitter and Facebook and now to Google+. So I hunted around and discovered that you can sync Google Buzz to your blog(s) and then enable Buzz in your Profile. That pulls your blogs in to Google+.  I'm pretty sure there will be a better way, if not at present, soon, but for now I'm using this method. I'd love to hear from anyone whose figured out another more efficient way of pulling in an RSS feed!

+1 Button

 This is similar to the Facebook "Like" button. If you read a post from someone in your circles and you think it's great, click the +1 button. That tells others reading it that you consider it interesting or thought-provoking or humorous. You can also Share it with others and pass on good posts that way.


I've only been in Google+ a few days. But I like it. I like it a lot. I will at some point have to decide how I'm going to manage my social networks. Will I give up Facebook in favour of Google+? Is there room for both in my life (with some tweaking so that there is no duplication)? Is Google+ a flash in the pan?

I want to interect with  other genealogists and bloggers. I want to keep up with emerging technology, and I'm going to be choosing the platform(s) that best enable me to do those three things. Perhaps I will keep Facebook  for Family connections and Google+ for everything else? I don't know yet but I'll be considering my options carefully over the next few weeks.

I don't want more work. I don't want more reading. So my final decision will be carefully thought out with one of the main criterias being that my work load does not increase.

July 9, 2011

Ten Tips for a Successful Family Reunion

Your Family Reunion day has arrived. You're hosting it. Are you ready? Or are you starting to panic? I host Family Reunions (we call them Family Fun Days) every year and I've learned a lot from my earlier mistakes.

Here are ten tips and guidelines that might help you survive.  Just remember that the key is organization! And everyone attending wants to have fun. So relax but stay organized.

1. Create a guest list, send out invites well ahead of the actual date of your reunion and keep track of who is coming and who isn't. Contact guests a week ahead to remind them.

2. Plan your food and decide who is bringing what - is it a potluck? Are you providing everything? Be specific in your invitations so that guests know what is expected of them.

3. Plan your activities and games. Keep  children in mind. Perhaps you want to provide games and goody bags specifically for  youngsters. 

4.  Create a Timeline for your Family Reunion.  Set a start and end time, then assign blocks of time to certain activities such as eating, organized games, free time, cleanup etc. These are flexible but as the host or hostess you need to keep things moving so you need a timeline.

Let's  say your Family Reunion is going to run from 1 to 6 pm.  Your timeline might look like this:

11 am set up games and activities outside
12 noon Pop and water in coolers, chips and nibbles out on patio
1 pm Guests arrive. Potluck food goes in fridges
1-2 pm Guests mingle, look at family charts and play games if they want
2 pm - 3 pm Scavenger Hunt (an organized activity)
3 pm - start the fire for the corn roast, get family members to help shuck corn
3:30 pm start barbeque
4 pm Supper (corn, hot dogs, hamburgers)
4:30 Coffee and tea
5 pm Cleanup
6 pm Guests leave

Your timeline can be as detailed or as basic as you want but having one will help keep you on track.

5. Create a master plan for your reunion. This is the list of all games, activities and food you are providing. I also like to have sketches of where things go.

For example for our Family Fun Day this year I'm organizing an Ancestor Race and there are several events that have to be set up that morning. So I made a rough sketch of our house and property with the location of each event shown.  I also have pails labelled with the name of the event and filled with whatever items are needed for that event. That will make it easy for whoever might be helping me set the events up to grab a pail, check my sketch, and get things ready without asking me questions.

6. Make a TO DO list for the week before your reunion. This is where you will note what foods you need to buy, what food prep you have to do (if any) and when, when you are going to tidy and clean your bathrooms and have extra toilet paper and hand towels ready, and all other miscellaneous tasks that might get forgotten or left to the last minute.

Example: My TO DO list for the week prior to my family reunion might look like this:

Monday: Grocery Shopping
Tuesday: Find coffee urn, plastic plates and all other reunion items. Set out buckets with Scavenger Hunt or Race items ready to be hidden outside
Wednesday: Clean and tidy house. Clean all patio furniture. Put Ancestor Charts up for family to see
Thursday: Make hamburger patties. Get bathrooms ready (extra soap, towels and toilet paper out)
Friday: Buy 60 cobs of corn from local farmer. Set out game items (frisbees, football, croquet, etc).
Saturday morning: Hide Scavenger Hunt or Race items outside. Put up posters

7. Keep the little details in mind. For example are you having name tags? If yes, you need pens for your guests to fill those name tags out. Hosting a reunion is hectic and the last thing you need is to be running around hunting for pens or some other item you suddenly realize is needed.

8.  Make a detailed shopping list. What food items do you need? What about plates and cutlery? Write it all down. For example I will need hot dogs,  buns, pop, bottled water, chips, pretzels, relish, mustard, ketchup, serviettes (napkins), plastic cutlery, butter for corn,  coffee and coffee cream. I usually write out everything I need for the reunion then tick it off if I have it on hand.

9.  Organize your games. Let's say you are having a Scavenger Hunt. What items do you need for it? Write them down! You'll need bags for family to put their items in as they find them. You'll need clues so bettter get those written and printed off. Do you need to hide items? Make a note of what you are going to hide and how many and where.

10. Last but not least, have a backup plan in case of rain. Our Family Reunions seem to always get rained out. I learned the hard way that I need a plan for what to do with 35 or more people trying to fit into my house and how to set up the buffet meal that I planned to have outside until it started raining. Perhaps you will want to rent a tent in case of rain. Or maybe you have a big family room and can easily accommodate all your family if rain forces everyone inside.

I'm pretty organized for this year's Family Fun Day (one week from today!) but I'm sure something will go wrong. It always does but that's part of the fun!

July 8, 2011

Genealogy Games For a Family Reunion: Race Events & Eggs (Part 3)

T-Shirt Prizes
My annual Family Fun Day is fast approaching and I'm still creating posters, flyers and other items needed for the Amazing Ancestor Egg Race.  I'm also busy organizing all the materials I'm going to have to set out the morning of the reunion.  I talked about what else I've done to create Genealogy Games for a family reunion in Part 1 and Part 2  of this series.

Yesterday I completed the t-shirts which are the prizes for this year's winning team. This year I did iron-on transfers as I didn't have the time to create hand-painted t-shirts.

In my genealogy themed race,  family members in teams of two must complete events in order to receive coloured plastic eggs containing their next clue.  Each clue directs teams to the next event.  Each event is based on an actual event in the life of one of my ancestors.

Amazing Ancestor Egg Race Events

Here are a few of the events my husband and I have created:

Deer Run Event
Deer Run In this event teams must help my 9th great grandmother Ots-Toch (a Mohawk French woman) and her son It-sy-cho-sa-quach-ka aka Jacques Van Slyke, my 8th great grandfather, hunt deer. I don't want to reveal how I've got this set up as too many of my family read my blog! Some of them will be trying to get a little edge on the rest of the players by reading my blog for clues. But it's not giving away too much by saying that using the tools I'm providing, teams must prove their ability to hunt alongside our ancestors Ots-Toch and Jacques.

WW2 Event Flyer
WW2 Grenade Training Course. This event is based on my dad's military service in WW2.

I bought toy grenades and toy army helmets at the Dollar Store and can hardly wait to take photos of my family and friends donning their helmets and tossing grenades to achieve the event goal.

Eileen Vollick Event Flyer
Eileen Vollick Flight School.  Eileen Vollick was the first female in Canada to obtain a pilot's licence. She's also a cousin. In this event teams will have to prove their skill at flying in order to get their next clue from Eileen. (played by a family member who has agreed to be the referee for this event)

I can't describe any more events I've got planned as that would give away too much to my family. But there are several skill testing challenges, all genealogy related, and one ancestor puzzle to complete before the final pit stop.

Event Referee & Ancestor Name Tags

Name Tags
Every event will have a referee wearing a name tag of an ancestor connected to the event. Most events will have a ref  watching to make sure teams don't cheat. Yes, my family are known for cheating in order to win.  One year two of my nieces (fully grown adults with children of their own) hid the scavenger hunt items as they found them so that other teams could not finish the hunt.

Some events don't have a referee watching the teams. When team members complete that event, they must find a specific ancestor and show that ancestor their completed task.  This is designed to slow teams down and scatter the field a bit.

Observant family may already have noticed some people wearing name tags of ancestors and will know who to look for. Others will have to race from person to person to determine who has the next egg and clue.

Eggs Filled With Clues

Eggs Filled with Clues
After creating all the genealogy ancestor events, I wrote out clues that will move teams along from event to event.  I had to make 15 copies of each clue as I expect 15 teams will participate. Then I folded the clues and inserted them inside plastic coloured eggs. Each event has a basket of eggs (labelled so I don't forget what basket goes with what event!) which the event referee can quickly grab just before the race begins.

I also created a master list of clue numbers and egg colours in case a basket gets spilled. Can you imagine trying to remember where the purple or yellow or.... any colour eggs go? So I have a list that shows that purple eggs belong to the  referee for the Deer Run event, yellow eggs are with Grenade Training and so on. 

Part of the fun is that teams must bring all their coloured eggs with them to the final pit stop. That should be in interesting exercise to see how creative my family is in figuring out how to carry those eggs.

July 7, 2011

FamilySearch Adds Free Records for 10 Countries

Press Release

22 Twenty-two collections for 10 countries were updated recently at The Germany and Mexico church records were the two largest collections added.

Collections were also added for Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and the United State.

See the records online now at

July 6, 2011

Genealogy Games for a Family Reunion - Part 2 (Ancestor Cards)

In Part 1 of Genealogy Games for a Family Reunion I talked a bit about one of the genealogy-based events I'm setting up for our Amazing Genealogy Race. Today I want to talk about how race teams are chosen.

Our Family Fun Day (that's what we call it) should see about 35 people here. There will be 9 children under the age of 12. Because we are on a farm property we don't want children going around on their own so all children under 12 have to be with an adult.

Amazing Genealogy Race Rules & Boundaries

Amazing Race Rules & Boundaries
First I made a poster explaining the rules of the race and more importantly, the boundaries. Every year something unpleasant happens. One year my niece broke her ankle while participating in  the Scavenger Hunt. Last year several people were stung by bees when they ventured too near one of our outlying barns.

So this year I've reduced the boundaries to the cleared property around our house. I've drawn a very loose representation of the boundary area and explained it on the RULES poster.

Why a poster? Because no one listens to me when I try to explain the rules just before they start the game! My family apparently has a short attention span. Or I'm boring. Either way, they just mill about and chat and cat-call while I'm attempting to explain how to play the game.

Teams for the Amazing Genealogy Race consist of two adults (and as many of the under 12 years of age children they wish to have with them). I  want people to mix and mingle because we have invited my family, hubs' family and assorted friends. Some have never met.

Creating Teams Using Ancestor Cards

Sets of Ancestor Cards
So this year I've created Ancestor Cards. I made duplicate sets of the same ancestor with a photo, their name and brief biography on the card. Hubs laminated them as I hope to use them in future genealogy games.

There are matched sets and every adult will receive a card moments before the game begins.  After all the ancestor cards are given out, each person has to find whoever holds their matching card and that is their 2-member team. As soon as they find their match they are free to begin the race.

I'm really looking forward to them reading their ancestor bio and watching them race from person to person trying to find a match. I expect some of the more competitive younger family members to be yelling out ancestor names "Sarah Elvery Stead, I'm looking for Sarah Elvery Stead!!!" I can hear it all now and it makes me chuckle to think of it!

Some years I have them choose a card (last year it was animals) when they first arrive so they can wander around for the first hour of the reunion looking for their matching card. But this year I want it to be a bit more chaotic. 

I also want to spread out the teams and not have everyone racing to Event #1 at the same time.  The first event is a hunt for wampum in honour of our ancestor Cornelis Van Slyke, a Dutchman who lived in New York in the  mid 1600s .... but I'm getting ahead of myself! I'll talk about that event in another blog post.

July 5, 2011

WorldCard Mobile App - My New Best Friend

WorldCard Mobile App created by Penpower Technology Ltd. is my new best friend. I love this app! When I was first approached by the developers to try this app and then review it, I wasn't sure how useful it would be. But I'm a huge fan after trying it out.

Basically WorldCard Mobile scans business cards and then using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology, reformats the card information and adds it to your Contact List in your iPhone or iPad. What a time-saver and how I wish I'd had this app when I was at RootsTech in February 2011.

I tested WorldCard Mobile on dozens of business cards. Some were crowded with information or used abbreviations but WorldCard Mobile was able to convert them all and enter them in the correct fields in my iPhone contact list. The only one it had trouble with was a card with the person's name and a fancy character beside the name. WorldCard Mobile thought the fancy stylized character was part of the name but that was a very understandable "mistake" and easily corrected.

After WorldCard Mobile exports the business card information to your contact list you can edit as usual. So a quick Edit then delete of the erroneous character solved the problem.

Olive Tree Genealogy Card
All it takes to use WorldCard Mobile is a simple click of the app's built-in camera - you align your phone with the card using the on-screen image, then click. If the photo is clear and you're happy with it, you choose "recognize" otherwise you redo it. I never had a problem getting a nice clear shot the first time and I don't have the steadiest hands in the world.

After happily scanning all my business cards into my contact list, I checked out their option called "Signatures" Wow. Using this option you can transfer email signature lines (names, URLs, phone and fax numbers, job titles, etc) into your iPhone contact list too.

All you do is copy the signature line(s) you want imported, then follow the simple instructions in WorldCard Mobile and all the information is quickly and easily imported into your contact list. It truly is that fast and easy.

There is also a CardHolder which keeps copies of all the business card images which you can then organize into groups. I didn't play with this option but it looks interesting.

Almost ready to export to contacts
You can also import existing images of business cards from your photo library on your iPad or iPod Touch and they'll be converted and added to your contact list. Your iPhone needs to have auto-focus so this app isn't recommended for 3G but it works great on 4 or 3GS. I used it on my 3GS and had zero problems. It's fast. It's easy. And that makes me very happy.

WorldCard Mobile app recognizes 7 languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish so it would be very handy on a genealogical research trip.

I can hardly wait for my next Genealogy Conference - you know, the ones where we gather business cards like mad! Last conference I was at, I lost some of the business cards I was given. If I'd had this app I would have immediately scanned the cards so no danger of losing that important contact info.

Disclaimer: WorldCard Mobile did not pay me to write this review but they did provide me the app at no cost so I could review it. I tested it on my iPhone 3GS using IOS 4.2.1 and the version of WorldCard Mobile I used is 3.2.0

July 4, 2011

Genealogy Games For a Family Reunion: Part 1

Summer's the time for family reunions. We have one every year or two at our home in the country and a Scavenger Hunt is a big part of the family fun day. But this year I'm doing something quite different. I'm creating a race - The Amazing Egg Race (this is the working title, we may change it) - which features 8 genealogy related events.

Hubs and I started brainstorming for this race about 3 months ago. Gradually it evolved into eight different events, each one based on an actual true event or life circumstance for one of my ancestors. For example, one of my cousins, a man named Stephen Peer, walked a tightrope across Niagara Falls in 1887, then later fell to his death - whether accident, suicide or murder is not known.

Poster with Flyer & Event Rules
So one of the events that teams must complete is the "Steve Peer Niagara Falls Tightrope Walk". The event will consist of a long narrow board raised about 4 to 6 inches from the ground, along which all team members must walk from one end to the other.

I don't want to give away too much information here in Olive Tree Genealogy blog, as some of my family actually read the blog! But I am creating posters on bristleboard and flyers for each event. The posters with rules and instructions for the specific event will be placed at the event location and laminated flyers taped to the poster.

Flyer for Steve Peer TIghtrope Walk
8.5 x 11 inch Flyers provide details of the specific ancestor - their births and deaths, and accomplishment that the race event is based on. I've also added pictures to hopefully generate more interest. 

An event "referee" wearing a name tag with that ancestor's name, will monitor the specific event. As each team completes an event, the team is given a coloured plastic egg. Inside the egg is their next clue which takes them to the next event. Simple!

But of course there are some surprises along the way. For instance, teams must reach the final ancestor pit stop with 9 coloured eggs and some other items which I can't mention here or it will give too much away. Let's just say that by the time teams reach one of the last events on the race, they'll be hard-pressed to figure out how they are going to complete it and manage to carry all their items and eggs to the finish line.

In future parts of this series about Genealogy Games for Family Reunions, I'll explain how teams are assembled (Spoiler: Think Ancestor Cards...), more of the events, prizes, and how to plan and organize your own Genealogy Family Fun Day.

July 3, 2011

Yorkshire Vital Records Online

A few days ago I discovered that has Yorkshire England records online. If you have Yorkshire ancestors, you'll want to run, not walk, to search them.

My son has Yorkshire lineage through his dad (Schulze, Hill, Dewhirst, Metcalf, Scholfield, Horner and more) and using these databases on I was able to find dozens of church records for ancestors I already had in my genealogy program, and learn new names to add to his family tree.

Even for the ancestors I had previously found, what a bonus these Yorkshire records are! The marriage records give the father's name and occupations of both fathers, plus the groom. Residences are listed. In one day of intensive searching I found literally dozens of new details and several new ancestors for my son's paternal line.

The new Yorkshire records that are on are:

* West Yorkshire, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906

* West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921

* West Yorkshire, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985

* West Yorkshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812

* West Yorkshire, England, Confirmations 1859-1915