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January 31, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are - Watch it this Friday!

Who Do You Think You Are, sponsored by is back for a 3rd season and will premier this Friday, February 3 at 8/7c on NBC.  Martin Sheen will lead off the series and other celebrities lined up include Marissa Tomei, Blair Underwood, Helen Hunt, Jerome Bettis, Robb Lowe, and Paula Deen among others.  Be sure to tune-in and see what each of the celebrities learns about their family history! Check out the WDYTYA site

As well, watch for the Martin Sheen interview on Olive Tree Genealogy blog.  I was invited to participate in the Media Conference Call with Mr. Sheen a few days ago. Mr. Sheen was excited and enthused about his journey with Who Do You Think You Are and spoke for almost an hour about his experiences. My interview article will be online in a few days so watch for it here! 

RootsTech Conference Will Broadcast Select Sessions Free Online

SALT LAKE CITY—RootsTech, a leading family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 2-4, 2012, announced today that fourteen of its popular sessions will be broadcasted live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at The second-year conference has attracted over 3,000 registered attendees.
The free online sessions include the keynote speakers and a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the fourteen broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in Mountain Standard Time (MST):
Thursday, February 2
8:30-10:00 am, Inventing the Future, as a Community (Keynote Address) by Jay L. Verkler
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Do I Trust the Cloud? by D. Joshua Taylor  
1:45-2:45 pm, Effective Database Search Tactics by Kory Meyerink     
3:00-4:00 pm, Twitter – It’s Not Just “What I Had for Breakfast” Anymore by Thomas MacEntee  
4:15-5:15 pm, Eleven Layers of Online Searches by Barbara Renick     
Friday, February 3
8:30-9:30 am, Exabyte Social Clouds and Other Monstrosities (Keynote Address) by Josh Coates
9:45-10:45 am, Publish Your Genealogy Online by Laura G. Prescott     
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Optimize Your Site for Search Engines by Robert Gardner    
1:45-2:45 pm, Genealogists “Go Mobile” by Sandra Crowly  
3:00-4:00 pm, Google’s Toolbar and Genealogy by Dave Barney      
Saturday, February 4
8:30-9:30 am, Making the Most of Technology to Further the Family History Industry (Keynote Address) by Tim Sullivan and Panel
9:45-10:45 am Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs 101 by Lisa Louise Cooke    
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Future of FamilySearch Family Tree by Ron Tanner
1:45-2:45 pm, Privacy in a Collaborative Environment by Noah Tatuk   

January 30, 2012

Cemetery Walk: Diamond Springs Odd Fellows Cemetery, El Dorado, California

It's Movie Monday and this week there are two videos of a Cemetery Walk through Diamond Springs Odd Fellows Cemetery in El Dorado Township, California on the OliveTreeGenealogy Channel on YouTube.

There will be 7 videos when the Cemetery Walks are complete for this cemetery. There are many Cemetery Walk Videos online on the OliveTreeGenealogy Channel on You-Tube and lots of tombstone photographs on AncestorsAtRest

January 28, 2012

WDYTYA and a Special Media Conference Call Coming Up!

From the Irish Civil War to the American Revolution, and from the African nation of Cameroon to the Republic of Bulgaria, Season 3 of Who Do You Think You Are? will take you all over the world and inside the fascinating family histories of 12 celebrities.

The celebrities that WDYTYA will take on a journey to find their ancestors are Martin Sheen, Marisa Tomei, Blair Underwood, Reba McEntire, Rob Lowe, Helen Hunt, Rita Wilson, Edie Falco, Rashida Jones, Jerome Bettis, Jason Sudeikis and Paula Deen.

Episode 1 with Martin Sheen airs Feb. 3, 2012 at 8/7 Central so be sure to mark your calendars.

Olive Tree Genealogy has been invited to participate in a Media interview with Martin Sheen early next week so be sure to watch my blog for my follow-up post. I'm very thrilled by the invite from NBC! I've got most of my interview questions ready but if readers have anything they want me to ask Mr. Sheen, make your suggestions in the Comments Section of this blog.

January 27, 2012

You Can Transcribe it! NARA's Transcription Project

NARA Transcription Pilot Project
Great news. You can now join the National Archives Transcription Pilot Project  and help transcribe documents. It's very easy, in fact I just went in and typed out one page of a document in less than 15 minutes.

The document I transcribed was the 1851 Petition of Edward Gorsuch found in a Fugitive Slave Petition Book. Edward lived in Baltimore County Maryland and the first page (which I transcribed) mentions the full names (first and last) of several of his slaves as well as their ages 

There are 3 categories of documents - beginner, intermediate and advanced. I've transcribed hundreds or possibly thousands of documents over the years so I jumped into advanced.  You can enlarge the page you are reading and the scans are crystal clear so it truly isn't difficult.

If you're just starting out or the document you chose is difficult, you can leave and pick another one. This is a great way to contribute a few minutes or more of your time and help make these historic documents more accessible to all.

January 26, 2012

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Hopes DNA Will Find Great-Great Grandfather

"Finding Your Roots" is a 10-part series on PBS about the genealogy and genetics of famous Americans. Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the host of this show which will explore family trees of 22 celebrities.

In an interesting twist, Gates will seek to discover the name of his own great-great grandfather, the man who sired 5 children by the slave Jane Gates. Jane did not reveal the father's name to any of her children, only telling them they had the same father.

Gates will use DNA to look for a match in the descendants of a pool of 178 possibilities of men who might be his ancestor. Gates has already had his DNA tested and to his surprise found he has Irish roots going back to Nial of Nine Hostages. His theory is that his great-great grandfather is a descendant of Nial. By collecting and analysing DNA samples from male descendants of the 178 possibilities, Gates hopes to find a match.

Residents who send in a DNA sample to see if they are related to Gates will get a separate website with the results, said Gates. Those whose DNA matches Gates may be featured in the new PBS miniseries "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates," which will premiere March 25 at 8 p.m.

Read more at Harvard Prof Henry Louis Gates Jr Hunting for Great-Great Grandfather

January 25, 2012

Help Send Frank Crummy's Tombstone Home!

Mounties are trying to find the proper resting place of a wayward headstone. A woman who owns property near Gleichen, about 100 km east of Calgary, found a granite gravestone marker in her field.

The  tombstone was etched with

Frank Crummy 
1869 – 1952 

No one knows how the tombstone got to Gleichen or who Frank Crummy is. Mounties are asking for help. 

This lost tombstone intrigued me so I spent a bit of time yesterday on a hunt. I'm hoping my readers will put on their sleuthing hats and join me!

Grande Prairie Alberta Crummy Family

I found quite a few newspaper articles and references to a Frank Crummy living in Grande Prairie Alberta in the 1930s and 1940s but nothing substantial that might lead to family members. He was a Mason and was the District Deputy Grand Master for Spirit River Lodge in 1942.  It is very possible this is Frank of the wayward tombstone.

I also found reference to "the Crummy brothers" settling in Grande Prairie before 1916. The index to "Pioneers of the Peace", a local history book which I don't have access to, lists Frank, George and Joe Crummy. If anyone can access this book we might find out more about Frank. 

Minnesota Connection

Minnesota seems to come into play and the 1880 census for Minnetonka Minnesota finds the family of John Crummy, wife Jane with several children including Frank age 9 years old born Pennsylvania. Frank had brothers John, George and Joseph. 

Joseph had a son John aka Jack born ca 1906 in Minnesota. This son John married Mavis Paul and settled in Grande Prairie, dying there in 1987. So I am fairly certain that the Minnesota family is the Crummy family that settled in Grande Prairie Alberta.

Marriage in Edmonton Alberta

One tidbit I found on Peel's Prairie Provinces was in a publication called "The Trail". It listed a marriage in Edmonton Alberta in November 1939 for Frank Grey Crummy son of Mr. & Mrs. F. Crummy of Grande Prairie Alberta. It is possible that Frank Grey Crummy is the son of Frank. 

I've done no further research so please jump in and help the Mounties find where Frank Crummy's tombstone belongs. You may use the comment section of this blog post to post information you find. If it involves living people, please send it privately to olivetreegenealogy @ gmail . com (no spaces in the email address)

January 24, 2012

Pinterest - Oh No, Another Addictive Distraction!

A few days ago I dipped my genealogy toe into the waters of Pinterest.

I'd heard about Pinterest over the past year from many Facebook friends but never ventured into it, thinking it would just be a waste of time. How wrong could I be?

Pinterest is the bomb. I'm loving it!
It's a way of bookmarking sites and objects you like or things you want to try.

Part of my Genealogy Board on Pinterest
You set up Boards by topics - big surprise I have a Board called Genealogy. Then you Pin an object or website to your board.

It's so easy - you download the Pin button addon to your web browser. Then when you are on a website you like you hit that Pin button and a choice of images pops up. Choose the image you want to represent what you've chosen and add it to your board

Another part of my Pinterest Genealogy Board

The URL of the website is automatically given so anyone looking at your board or following your board can click through to learn or see more! 

The cool thing is that now you have a handy reference of things you might want to look at again, or try out, or read about. I found some really innovative family tree ideas (you can see some on the left) so I pinned them to my board. Now I can think about creating some of my own that are similar.

I also created a board for Recipes and Antiques and more things that I like. Pinterest is a social media site in that you need to engage with others on Pinterest, either by following their boards or repinning something they pinned or liking or commenting on something they pinned.

Follow Me on Pinterest A look around Pinterest gave me so many great ideas for genealogy, antiquing and cooking that I spent an entire day on it yesterday! I found many others interested in genealogy so naturally I followed all of them.

I have now begun following individual boards rather than blindly following all the boards that one person created. I don't care about seeing a board on Scuba Diving for example.

Interested? Check out my Pinterest page at

Want to follow me or my genealogy board? Just click on the "Follow me on Pinterest" logo above. Warning: Pinterest is addictive! If you want to get a page quickly, drop me an email with your email address and I'll send you an invite. Send your note to olivetreegenealogy @ (no spaces)

January 23, 2012

Cemetery Walk: Creemore United Cemetery, Simcoe Co. Ontario

It's Movie Monday and this week's Movie is a Cemetery Walk through Creemore United Cemetery in Simcoe County Ontario Canada on the OliveTreeGenealogy Channel on You-Tube.

There are many Cemetery Walk Videos online on the OliveTreeGenealogy Channel on You-Tube and lots of tombstone photographs on AncestorsAtRest

January 21, 2012

I Hope Kak is Dancing With Charlie: Tribute to a Beloved Grandmother

Kak & Charlie on Wedding Day
Hubs' beloved grandmother passed away two weeks ago. She was 91 and an amazing woman - strong and courageous. She lived alone since her husband Charlie died 20 years ago.

She and Charlie moved into the old brick farmhouse over 50 years ago.  That is where she wanted to spend her last days and she displayed incredible determination and strength to achieve that goal.

Kak, as the family called her, got her wish, passing peacefully in her home with one of her sons and grandsons at her side.  My husband was on his way to be with her but was still 15 minutes from her house when the call came that she was gone.

Kak wasn't well for the past year,  but she managed alone in the house with the help of her son and his wife who lived nearby. During this time she also managed another amazing feat of strength and will power. She created a method for her sons to be sure her treasured antiques were passed on in the family.

Plate labelled with my name
Kak laboriously wrote names on tape and labelled all the beautiful antiques, furniture and family heirlooms in her two-storey farmhouse.

What she couldn't label, she wrote out by hand - a huge list of items (an inventory really) with a description of each, and who that specific item was to go to. Her list has notes such as "Painting of young girl in rose coloured dress, antique oak frame - for Susie" 

You'd have to have seen Kak's home to realize what a monumental task this was. She had a beautiful home filled with antiques - furniture, china, paintings, clocks, etc. I wish we'd taken pictures of the rooms while they were intact. 

In the last two weeks before her death, one of her grandsons came to stay with her to help with her care. Under her direction he wrote out dozens and dozens of labels to attach to small items she had not yet gotten to.

Together they went through drawers of postcards, cards and letters she'd been saving since the 1930s. He spent afternoons reading her old postcards to her, an activity that seemed to bring her great joy. Memories were triggered when he read these notes from friends and family long dead.

One of Kak's Ladies
Sadness overwhelmed us as hubs' unpacked one of the boxes with items Kak had labelled for him. Holding her beloved "Ladies" - from her collection of Royal Dalton Figurines - was hard to do.

The realization that these Ladies, so beloved by Kak who knew every  name of every figure, would never be displayed in her home again, or dusted lovingly by her hands, hit hard. But we will treasure those items forever.

And so time moves on. Items loved and treasured by Kak are being distributed to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Hopefully they will continue to be treasured and passed on in the family as Kak wanted.

It is the natural cycle of life but it's not easy accepting that Kak's time on earth has ended and that her treasures are now in our safe-keeping. Her torch has been extinguished but how lucky we all were to have had her in our lives. She'll always be in our minds and hearts.

I hope you're dancing with Charlie, Kak!

January 20, 2012

Another American Soldier Dog Tag Sent Home! Case #10 Solved

Good news! Another Soldier's ID Dog Tag has been sent home to family. Here is the note from John about Case #10, Edward Jones:

The Dog Tag has been returned to the family and a response was received by Tim, who returned it and whose step-father found it. Please go to the Camp Howze facebook page to see photos of Edward and other members of his family that served during WWII, along with some other photos and a copy of the letter thanking Tim for returning it.
Congratulations and thanks goes to Olive Tree Genealogy readers who put on their genealogy sleuthing hats and found Edward's family. We have several cases still unsolved so please take a look at the list of Lost and Found Soldiers' Dog Tags to see if you can help send one home.

January 19, 2012

Genealogy Today gets a Haircut and a Shave for 2012

The following announcement was sent to Olive Tree Genealogy by our good friend Illya D'Addezio of Genealogy Today

Genealogy Today gets a Haircut and a Shave for 2012 ... Well, maybe a
mini-facelift too (but I'll never tell). This weekend the search engine at
Genealogy Today was released with a faster, simpler version that (and here's
the key benefit) offers better results. In addition to the search
improvements, the home page was redesigned and the site navigation was

The improved search combines free and paid resources into a single result
set, highlighting new and updated items. External resources are clearly
identified with "Web:" before their titles, and free items announce
themselves with a Free! indicator. There's also a new line at the top of the
search results that displays the criteria used in the search. And (did I
mention that) the Genealogy Today search is now much faster, more consistent
between the different types of records and offers better results (for
special cases and name variations).

Released with the search engine (as you might expect) is an improved search
form that allows you to filter free/paid, local/external and restrict
"fuzzy" name logic. The new form also does a better job of keeping track of
what you've just searched on, and as you drill down into the databases,
offers options to reverse direction and expand your search.

Still in the works... support for searching alternate names (e.g. maiden,
married, nicknames, typos) and a real-time checker for external resources to
better handle moved/dead links. And, of course, there will lots of new data
added during 2012!

While the search engine may not look all that different on the surface, it
drives a lot better... so go ahead and take the improved search engine for a
test drive...

January 18, 2012

SOPA & PIPA Action Call Today

Today is a day to take action against SOPA and PIPA.  Wikipedia and other websites are blacking out their pages for 24 hours today to protest SOPA (Congress' proposal) and PIPA (the Senate's proposal).

Here is the message seen on WikiPedia a few days ago

"Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 . The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, and it’s a decision that wasn’t lightly made."
Yes we should all be concerned about copyright and violation of copyright. But these proposed legislative acts are using censorship to try to achieve an end to copyright violations.  If the acts pass it will almost certainly mean an end to the Internet as we know it - the end of an exchange of free information.

Legitimate websites and site owners will suffer badly and may go under. Not because they are violating copyright but because of the draconian measures SOPA and PIPA want to put into place.

Many geneabloggers are blacking out their blogs today in protest. Olive Tree Genealogy has Guest Author posts and therefore will not be blacking out as I cannot make that decision for others who have posted articles here.  However I have filed my protest of SOPA as a Canadian at Stop American Censorship

I suggest reading a few of the many blog posts and website articles about SOPA, PIPA and today's call for blackout.

Web Goes on Strike! on SopaStrike

DM supports SOPA and PIPA protest by Dear Myrtle

Today We Fight Back... by Reddit

January 17, 2012

Quebec Family History Society launches new website

This announcement came to Olive Tree Genealogy yesterday:
MONTREAL, January 15, 2012 — The Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) is proud to announce the launch of its new website at Located at the same address as the genealogical society’s original site, the website features several new sections, such as Gary’s Genealogical Picks, research tips, surname interests, and a bulletin board. 
QFHS members researching their ancestors in Quebec will benefit from the new Jacques Gagné Church Compilations in the members’ section. Long-time member Jacques Gagné has compiled historical information and the location of records for more than 1,000 English and French Protestant churches across the province, from 1759 to 1899.
The Quebec Family History Society is the largest English-language genealogical society in Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1977, it is a registered Canadian charity that helps people of all backgrounds research their family history. Its members, in addition to researching their Quebec roots, research historical records in all Canadian provinces and territories, the United States, the British Isles, and Western Europe. At the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, members have free access to a collection of 6,000 books, manuscripts, and family histories, plus thousands of microfilms, microfiche, historical maps, and periodicals, and access to billions of online genealogical records, including the world deluxe edition of
The Quebec Family History Society / La Société de l’histoire des familles du Québec

January 16, 2012

2012 Kick Off Coupons for Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner!

Flip-Pal Mobile ScannerGreat News!

My readers know how much I love my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. I've written about it quite a few times on Olive Tree Genealogy Blog.

Well, the good news is that there are two coupons to save you money if you don't have yours yet.

I use mine several times a week. One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the couch watching TV while I rest the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner on my lap and scan old family photos. It's lightweight and easy!

2012 Kick Off Coupons

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is  celebrating the new year by giving out 2 coupon codes

Coupon Code: KOFP12A
$15 off the purchase a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner when you also order a package of Flip-Pal Window Protector Sheets—both items must be in  customers shopping cart for this coupon to work

Coupon Code: KOCS12A
$20 off the purchase a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner with Creative Suite Craft Edition DVD when you also order a package of Flip-Pal Window Protector Sheets—both items must be in  customers shopping cart for this coupon to work


These coupons are good from January 13–22, 2012 or while supplies last! Simply click on the words Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner to make your purchase. Be sure to enter your coupon code at checkout

January 14, 2012

Rootstech Presentation: International Panel: Genealogy 2.0

Recently one of my fellow bloggers, Jill Ball of Geniaus, wrote to ask me if I would join her on an International Panel slated to present a discussion of Social Media at Rootstech 2012.

There were originally four members - Jill from Australia, Amy Coffin from United States, Audrey Collins from England and Joan Miller from Canada. Sadly Joan had to withdraw, and her slot was empty. I am very honoured that the group chose me to try to fill Joan's shoes.

The four of us will be at the Salt Palace for our presentation in Room 225B at 11:00 am on Friday February 3, 2012. I hope you'll join us! 

January 13, 2012

FamilySearch Research Wiki and Your Genealogy Society

This announcement was just received by Olive Tree Genealogy:

Join us for the next episode of FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies

This week's episode on Saturday January 14, 2012 at 1 pm Central is hosted by Thomas MacEntee is entitled FamilySearch Research Wiki and Your Genealogy Society. Our guest will be Lise Embley, of FamilySearch who will help us understand how the FamilySearch Research Wiki works and how it can help your genealogy society. In addition, we'll be highlighting FGS member society, Fairfax Genealogical Society, Fairfax County. Virginia, in our weekly Society Spotlight feature.  

Tune in to FGS Radio - My Society each week to learn more about genealogy societies and join in a discussion of the issues impacting the genealogical community.

Click this link to set a reminder or to tune in:

Thomas MacEntee, Marketing & Public Relations
Federation of Genealogical Societies

January 12, 2012

Finding Your Roots on PBS in March

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr is coming to PBS March 25, 2012 at 8pm ET. According to their Facebook page, this is a 10-part PBS series exploring race, culture and identity through genealogy.

 Presented and written by Professor Gates, the series is the 12th production from the renowned Harvard scholar.

'Finding Your Roots' builds on the success of ‘African American Lives 1 and 2’ and ‘Faces of America,' journeying deep into the ancestry of an all-new group of remarkable individuals. The 10-part series delves into the genealogy and genetics of famous Americans, combining history and science in a fascinating exploration of race, family, and identity in today's America.

January 11, 2012

Letters Lost & Found From the 17th Century

A few days ago I heard from a researcher working for Dutch National television who is doing research on history and genealogy for a program called ‘Brieven Boven Water
This TV program is all about letters sent by Dutchmen overseas to the New World and other places in the 17th and 18th centuries. The letters never arrived, since the ships that transported the letters were hijacked by the English.

Over 38,000 of these letters were recently found and the program tries to find out about the person who wrote the letter(s) and track descendants in 2012. They are working on one of my ancestors Hendrick Meesen Vrooman and want to know if I can help. 

They are hoping to find a few descendants of Hendrick's son Adam and I think I can help with that. Of course they also have me as I descend from Hendrick's daughter Eva who married Jochem Lambertse Van Valkenburg in New Netherland (present day New York)

You can read about the letter my ancestor Hendrick wrote to his brother in Leiden in 1664 at "Thank You Hendrick"  You can also read the transcribed letter at "Letters For Loot"

January 10, 2012

January Genealogy Challenge: Write an Ancestor Tribute

This month the Genealogy Challenge I'm issuing is to create a tribute page to one ancestor. What I mean by that is - pick an ancestor and write your memories of that person.

Maybe that would be your grandmother or grandfather. Or perhaps your grandmother told you stories of her mom so even though you didn't personally know her, you do know stories about her.

The tribute is not dry facts such as where the person was during each census year. It's not about those facts we find when we are researching. It's about your memories, both the good and the bad!

My suggestion is you keep your Ancestor Tribute to one page double-sided if you want to write a lot, or just one side. It doesn't take long - you just let the words flow and it doesn't have to be in chronological order. It's just your thoughts and memories coming out quickly.

I wrote one and it went so fast that I wrote several others! I got a little fancy with a few and added photos but I kept my Ancestor Tributes to one page. I'm really happy with them and plan to do more and put them into a little coil-bound "book" to share with my siblings.

 Ancestor Tribute page for my great-grandmother. I never knew her but my grandmother and my aunts told me many stories so I was able to write a page about her.

The Ancestor Tribute pages are memories. They might not be accurate. They might be lies, half-truths or misunderstood or half-remembered information. But they have value as they bring the ancestor to life. Did you hear that Grandpa Joe made dandelion wine? Write it down in his Tribute page!

Did Grandma make silly faces at the table? Did you overhear her telling a story about her mother? Write it all down.

My grandfather died before I was born but my Tribute page is based on things my father, Uncle Clare and my mom and aunt told me.

And now I'm off to write a few more. I hope you'll take a half hour and write at least one Ancestor Tribute page this month. If you enjoy it, write more! Share them with family.

January 9, 2012

Cemetery Walk: Mono College Presbyterian Cemetery in Mono Township, Dufferin County Ontario

Olive Tree Genealogy YouTube Channel has another Cemetery Walk online for Mono College Presbyterian Cemetery in Mono Township, Dufferin County Ontario.

You can view the list of all Cemetery Walks by clicking on the tab for Cemetery Walks at the top of this blog.

January 7, 2012

American Soldier Dog Tag: Home for Christmas!

I have such wonderful news for my readers re Case #8, Samuel Loftus and his Dog Tags which were found in England. Samuel Loftus' daughter and family received his dog tags before Christmas. His daughter wrapped the tag and put it under the tree for Samuel's grandson as a surprise.

The family took photos and kindly shared them with Olive Tree Genealogy so that my readers could see this happy ending.

Here is part of the letter from the family. It is wonderful to see the face of Samuel and his family and share in their joy at having Samuel's Dog Tag come home.

The one picture is of our son holding the dog tag in front of Sam Loftus picture on the wall.

Pops as we in the family called him was one outstanding individual.

In the other pictures is of our family:  my wife and Sam Loftus daughter, myself and our son and daughter.

I can't tell you how much Joy this dog tag has brought to us. Sam told me
many stories of his war time experiences when I would ride with him moving
cattle in the canyons of Imnaha in Wallowa County. You can only imagine how
he is missed by all that knew and loved him.

January 6, 2012

Guest Author: Best Family History Software

I'm pleased to introduce my readers to my guest author today - Jenna Smith.  Jenna has written an article comparing various Genealogy Software. Enjoy!

Best Family History Software

More and more people are interested in studying their family history. From people perusing Brookdale senior living reviews to professional genealogists, the human race wants to know its roots. This isn't new thing, but in the past people have found digging into the past to be daunting logistical challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of tools out there now that will help you to conduct your research efficiently and have a bit of fun doing it. The following are three of the top pieces of software you can use to flawlessly trace your family tree:

Family Tree Maker

The proprietary, award-winning genealogy software from has been kicking since 1989 and as of 2010 is available for both PCs and Macs. The program allows users to organize and track information related to family history searches. In 2006 it won the CODiE award for “Best Consumer Productivity Solution.” Since then, FTM has been upgraded a number of times. While the software shares many similar features as other genealogy and family tree services, Family Tree Maker has received high marks for its ease of navigation and user-friendliness. New bonus features allow for customized narratives, 3D options, and quick information retrieval.


Developed exclusively for Macs by Leister Productions, Inc., Reunion consistently receives rave reviews. Like Family Tree Maker, Reunion allows users to create family history reports, including charts that illustrate family trees and tools for publishing their results online. Also like Family Tree Maker, Reunion is beloved for its ease of use. Released in a number of different versions over the years, the latest Reunion 9 provides even more options for customizing your family history research experience. Newer features include enhanced file importing capabilities, an expansion of output formats, a with-the-times approach to same-sex couple documentation, and the ability to flag people and events with historical significance.


RootsMagic runs primarily on Windows operating systems, although some users have been able to utilize the software application Wine in order to run it on Linux. The latest version of this software has a revamped interface that is FamilySearch certified and the new layout allows integration with Family Tree Maker and other software like Family Origins. RootsMagic also allows for DNA research and can be used to create 6 different types of CSS websites, including pedigree charts, and multiple forms of narrative reports. While its multimedia functions don't operate as seamlessly as the previous two programs listed here, RootsMagic has a stellar support staff and supports a number of 3rd party software.

Whether you use a PC, Mac, or Linux there are software options here for you to conduct extensive family history research. The programs discussed above also offer state-of-the-art methods for sharing and storing your reports. There's never been a better time to discover your roots!

About Jenna: Jenna is a journalism student at Saint Louis University. Upon graduation, she hopes to travel the world while producing compelling content for the masses. When she isn't writing,  you can find Jenna with her nose in a book, or her headphones in to block out the rest of the world. 

January 5, 2012

Olive Tree Genealogy Top Ten Blog Posts

Several bloggers have listed their top blog posts for the past year. I've found it very interesting and wondered what my top ten posts are for all time.

I wrote my first blog post on Olive Tree Genealogy Blog on February 9, 2003. That's almost 9 years of writing this blog and 1,468 posts.

I didn't post every day when I first started blogging but for the past 2 or 3 years I've tried to post daily.

Here's how it breaks down:

2003: 12 posts
2004: 26 posts
2005: 86 posts
2006: 17 posts (not sure what happened that year!)
2007: 114 posts
2008: 192 posts
2009: 263 posts
2010: 316 posts (had major surgery that year so lost a couple of months of posting)
2011: 424 posts

Here are the Top Ten Blog Posts since 2003:

January 4, 2012

My New Descendant is Here!

Last night at 11:35 pm my newest grandson arrived. Baby boy Schulze weighed in at 6lb 5oz. Mommy and baby are fine, Daddy is exhausted.

I asked for photos but my son told me they were tired after the labour and wanted to go to sleep. I reminded him that my daughter-in-law was in labour, not him!

Good son that I have, he did send a picture a few minutes later but I promised I wouldn't share it. I suspect they want to show him to family and friends before I do.  But he's adorable and a very welcome addition to their existing family of three beautiful children.

Lucky me - I now have 10 grandchildren (plus 4 step-grandchildren). Surely at least one of them will inherit the genealogy gene?

January 3, 2012

Case #12: Arthur Cohen Dog Tag Found in France

Our first case in 2012 to find family of an American soldier! Wayne wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with this story of finding a soldier's dog tag in France

My daughter was walking on the beach near Nice, France and found a WW II dog tag with the name of Arthur Cohen.  The tag is very beat up and about 1/3 of it is broken off and missing. There is a  partial service number ending 181206 and blood type A.  

From what we can ell, there were two Arthur Cohens from that region who enlisted at about the same time, one was born in 1913 and the other in 1921.  They were both single when they enlisted. I have found from NARA records available online that the Arthur Cohen we are looking for was born in 1913. Service #31181206. 
So far we have found out that Arthur enlisted in Providence, Rhode Island in 1942.  That's all we know. Any idea of where to go from here?  If it would be of any sentimental or historical value to his descendants we would be happy to correspond and send it to them.
 This is Case #12 and I hope my readers will respond with their usual enthusiasm and great sleuthing skills. Let's send another dog tag home to family.

January 2, 2012

Cemetery Walk: St. Andrews Presbyterian Cemetery, Hillsdale Ontario Canada

Our first Cemetery Walk of 2012 is for St. Andrew's Presbyterian Cemetery in Hillsdale, Simcoe County Ontario Canada. It is online in 2 Videos on Olive Tree Genealogy YouTube Channel

Here is Video 1. For Video 2 please see Olive Tree Genealogy YouTube Channel