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February 28, 2012

Sweet Sixteen for Olive Tree Genealogy - Happy Birthday!

Happy 16th Birthday Olive Tree Genealogy!
Did you know that my website Olive Tree Genealogy will be 16 (SIXTEEN!!) years old this month?

That's right! Olive Tree Genealogy actually began in the winter of 1995 on space on my first ISP (

The very first primary record I put online was a ships passenger list from 1634. And that was the start of my obsession compulsion commitment to bringing free genealogy records online for all to use.

In February 1996 Olive Tree Genealogy was given free space on the then brand new Rootsweb site.

In 2001 I purchased my domain and moved into the space where the site still remains at  

Genealogists often ask me how and why I started Olive Tree Genealogy. Making a long story short, my husband passed away in 1993 after a 2 year struggle with cancer. That same year I was badly injured at school by a disturbed student.

An unsuccesful operation ensued followed by two years of enforced inactivity when I was not able to work. During this time a dear friend suggested I create a website for the internet which was emerging as we know it now.

When I began my online adventures it was DOS, no windows environments. Rootsweb didn't exist. Ancestry didn't exist. We all started about the same time, as did Cyndi's List. Yep, we are all dinosaurs in Internet years!

So I learned how to create a website, how to code in html (no web editors back then) and how to upload files to a remote host. And Olive Tree Genealogy was born.

You can read a bit about me or see some of the early versions of Olive Tree Genealogy at History of Olive Tree Genealogy


Debbie Armbrust said...

The fact that you created something so wonderful and decided to forge on and help people during such a difficult time in your life is inspiring. I applaud you and thank you for such a wonder website.

CallieK said...

Happy Birthday Olive Tree! I had to laugh when I read this- I too have been online for longer than most people, (BBS's in the late 80's but didn't have my own set-up until around the same time as you). I love to tell people I used the internet before there were pictures, or even browsers. Do you remember using PINE for email?

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

CallieK - I don't remember what it was called but I do remember waiting 4 days for messages/emails to go out and a response to come back!

Much of mine was done via Message Boards on BBS. I did have an email addy but can't recall what service it was under as I rarely used it.

Oh and I had to dial long distance to Toronto (very expensive!) to go online. Wish I had a better memory for such things


Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thank you Debbie! I do strive to accept what life hands out and try to make the best of a bad situation.

I find it doesn't help to wallow in self-pity, far better to give yourself a meaningful task to achieve.

My mother's "stiff upper lip" British upbringing rising up in me I think :-)

Kristin said...

Happy Blog Birthday! I had a website back in the day too! Maybe I should have kept the same name Ruff Draft. I don't miss having to do the html!

Janice EH said...

I came back to the States in 1994 after being stationed in Korea for several years where I had an Amiga to connect with local bulletin boards. I gave up the Amiga and bought a PC, got on Prodigy, Compuserve and AOL (no pictures anywhere) and found Olive Tree and Cyndi's List. I was in heaven! Ship Lists!!! Congratulations and thank you for all you have given us over the years.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Janice - what a great story! Thanks for sharing it, I love to hear how/why researchers found my site. And Cyndi's :-)

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Love the name Kristin :-)

Andrea Kelleher said...

Happy Birthday Olive Tree! I am a newbie blogger. I don't even have a year under my belt yet, but hopefully I will have enough zest and energy to keep this going for a couple of years. 16 years wow! That is an achievement. Thank you so much for being an inspiration for us "newbies."

Jill Ball said...

Congrats Lorine. Sweet sixteen is a wonderful age - you have so much to look forward to.

Thanks for so generously sharing the fruits of you labour with the genealogy community.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Happy Blogiversary oh wise and somewhat ancient one (ancient in terms of blogging that is).

Shelley Bishop said...

Congratulations, Lorine--you take the cake! Sixteen years is an amazing accomplishment. Thanks for all you do.

Jennifer Shoer said...

Congratulations, Lorine! Thank you for forging the way through the darkness of the predawn internet genealogy world! You are a great example and role model. Jen :)