Discover your inside story with AncestryDNA®

June 30, 2012

Six More States Indexed for 1940 on  released 6 more fully indexed and searchable states to their 1940 U.S. Federal Census collection. The 6 new states include (with corresponding record counts):

Pennsylvania - 9,900,180
Ohio - 6,907,612
Tennessee - 2,915,841
Virginia - 2,677,773
Colorado - 1,123,296
Vermont - 359,231

These states will join the collection on with four other searchable states and Washington D.C. (ME, NV, DE, NY).

June 29, 2012

NGS Research Trips to Salt Lake City

National Genealogical Society Announces Two
Research Trips to Salt Lake City, Utah

Join the National Genealogical Society for a weeklong guided research trip to the world renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Researchers can choose to attend 21–28 October 2012 or 6–13 January 2013. NGS offers a substantial discount with early bird pricing if you register for the 21–28 October trip by 15 July and register for the 6–13 January trip by 15 October.

The hosts for the October 2012 trip are Sandra MacLean Clunies, cgsm, and Shirley Wilcox, cgsm, and the January 2013 hosts are Marie Varrelman Melchiori, cgsm, cgLsm,  and Shirley Wilcox, cgsm. These experts, all certified genealogists, are available to the attendees all week long to help them focus their research work and to take the utmost advantage of the Family History Library resources.

The library’s noteworthy records include deeds, wills, military, tax, and vital records from the United States, Canada, and around the world. Researchers will have access to numerous commercial computer databases, more than two million rolls of microfilm located on five floors, hundreds of thousands of microfiche, an immense collection of genealogical books, and outstanding area maps.

The land package includes:
• Seven nights at the adjacent Salt Lake Plaza Hotel
• Six full days of research at the Family History Library and guidance from NGS Experts
• Sunday evening orientation and social
• Monday evening group lecture
• Wednesday evening pizza party
• Saturday evening group meal
• Shuttle van provided between airport and hotel

Airfare, meals (other than those shown above), and all personal expenses are not included in the package price. Each trip is limited to 30 attendees.

Registration costs vary depending on date of registration, room occupancy, and National Genealogical Society membership status. Registration fees are as follows:
Early Bird Registration Fees
Double/Shared Room
On or before 15 July (for 21–28 October 2012)
16 July and after (for 21–28 October 2012)
On or before 15 October (for 6–13 January 2013)
16 October and after (for 6–13 January 2013)


Single Room
On or before 15 July (for 21–28 October 2012)
16 July and after (for 21–28 October 2012)
On or before 15 October (for 6–13 January 2013)
16 October and after (for 6–13 January 2013)



For more information, visit the NGS research trip web page

June 28, 2012

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Deals

 Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner  has two promotions for the upcoming American Independence Day and Canada Day celebrations.  This is a good time to get one if you don't have one already

The following promotion code is valid June 25-July 1

Use Promotion Code: July1 and this link for your Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

Save $20 when you purchase a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner plus a Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket! (Please place both items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

The following promotion code is valid July 2-8

Use Promotion Code: July4  and this link for your Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

Purchase a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner with Digital Creativity Suite 3.0 DVD and get a Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket FREE! (Please place both items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

The following promotion codes are valid 12:00 a.m.–11:59 p.m. Mountain Time (-6 GMT) Please note: these promotional codes cannot be used in conjunction with other promotion codes.

Free Access to in Honour of Canada Day Family history website offers free access to more than 40 million historical records that trace the development of the nation over the last 145 years

June 27, 2012 (TORONTO) – In honour of Canada Day,, Canada’s favourite family history website, is offering free access to 40 million historical records that outline just how far the country has come as a nation in the past 145 years.

Available free from June 27 through July 2, the records cover the years leading up to and following Confederation and include censuses, birth, marriage and death records, passenger lists, military records and many more.

“Many Canadians today celebrate the diversity of our nation but that multi-culturalism only came following a period of incredible growth and development in the years immediately before and after nationhood,” said’s Julie Wingate. “These records really paint a picture of how much we’ve changed as a country and give us a real reason to celebrate Canada Day.”

In 1871, just four short years after Confederation, Canada conducted its first Census as a nation and the results showed it was a country made up of British and French immigrants and a stark lack of diversity.

In fact, according to the 1871 Census of Canada:
  • Just 101 people are listed as being of Russian origin, compared to 500,000 in 2006
  • Nearly 900 people are listed as being Italian, compared to 1.4 million in 2006
  • Only one man is listed as being of Chinese descent in the 1871 Census, compared to 1.3 million in 2006
Between June 27 and July 2, millions of records will be accessible to Canadians for free on The records are from some of the largest collections on, including:

·         Canadian Passenger Lists and Ocean Arrivals - outlining the masses of people who arrived by ship -- the only form of international travel available to people at the time -- at port cities across Canada
·         The 1871 Census of Canada - the first Census Canada conducted as a nation, which gives a snapshot of the life of the people living at the time, including who they lived with, their ages, their jobs, the birthplaces of their parents, their neighbours and more
·         Vital records (i.e. birth, marriage and death records) from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia - outlining the significant moments in the people’s lives like children born, marriages and deaths.
Search for your family.

June 27, 2012

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner 2012 Independence Day and Canada Day Sale!

The folks at Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner sent Olive Tree Genealogy the news that they have two promotions for the upcoming American Independence Day and Canada Day celebrations.  Readers know how much I love my Flip-Pal and I'm always happy to share the news of any sales or coupons to help you purchase your own.

The following promotion code is valid June 25-July 1

Use Promotion Code: July1 and this link for your Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

Save $20 when you purchase a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner plus a Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket! (Please place both items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

The following promotion code is valid July 2-8

Use Promotion Code: July4  and this link for your Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

Purchase a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner with Digital Creativity Suite 3.0 DVD and get a Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket FREE! (Please place both items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

The following promotion codes are valid 12:00 a.m.–11:59 p.m. Mountain Time (-6 GMT) Please note: these promotional codes cannot be used in conjunction with other promotion codes.
Flag graphics courtesy of Free World Flags

June 26, 2012

Are you a Genealogist on Facebook?

The Changes Made by Facebook
If you're a genealogist and using Facebook to connect with other genealogists this might affect you. Facebook has changed everyone's default contact email to

That means if your contact email was your personal email account, it's no longer visible on your Timeline. It's still there, but it's hidden and the visible email is your

Now maybe you don't care. But if you want others to contact you at your personal email you will need to switch back to what you had. Also some tests done this morning and last night by concerned inviduals are indicating that Facebook's email system is flawed. Some messages are getting in and some are getting out but it's flaky.

My own tests this morning showed two messages I sent from two different gmail accounts did end up in my Facebook messages area and one I sent out to a gmail account arrived. That's not a very good test but I was only mildly curious as I have no intention of using Facebook's email system!
To change your contact email back, go to your Profile page, click ABOUT and scroll down to where you'll see your new addy. Click EDIT then HIDE the facebook addy from Timeline, and make your old one VISIBLE on Timeline. Then SAVE your changes.

Did you know you can follow Olive Tree Genealogy and stay in the loop? Just choose from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + and YouTube icons below


June 25, 2012

Why Do We Do Genealogy?

A friend asked an interesting question yesterday. "Why do you do genealogy?" she said. Sounds like a simple question doesn't it. And the answer should be simple - "I do genealogy because...."

But guess what? It's not simple. The reasons I currently "do genealogy" are not the same reasons I would have given 20 or 30 years ago. When I began my genealogy quest at a very young age, it was because my father had expressed such curiousity about our Irish McGinnis origins. He died when I was 14 and I made a vow after his death to find out about our McGinnis ancestors for him. In his memory. So my answer to that question, had it been asked, those many years ago, would have been simple. "I do genealogy because I want to find my McGinnis ancestors for my father."

That isn't my main reason anymore. I've grown. This has been a journey - still is a journey, and as on any journey, my needs and desires and goals along the way have changed. For example I've discovered that I can't let a mystery lie without digging into it. I need to find answers. So my answer to that question now would be
"I do genealogy for many reasons. One is my curiousity about my ancestors - who were they, what were they like, what experiences did they live through. My love of history is part of the reason I do genealogy. My desire to solve mysteries is a huge part of my passion for genealogy. And I do genealogy because I want my children and grandchildren to know and recognize the individuals over the centuries whose lives helped make us who we are today."
Genealogy isn't a pursuit well suited for those who require instant gratification. It's a long-term process and seems incredibly boring and tedious to those who are not like-minded. I've spent more hours scrolling through microfilm searching for that one entry with an ancestor's name, then I care to remember. Many people would consider those wasted hours. I don't.

Some of my family are not the least bit interested in our ancestors. Some are interested to a degree. Tell them stories of the more interesting or outrageous ancestors such as our daredevil Peer ancestor who walked Niagara Falls on a tightrope and they listen. Tell them about great great grandpa, the farmer in England, and their eyes glaze over.

I once had a friend say to me "But why do you care? They're all dead!" and yet another said "They're not really your ancestors if they're dead." Hmmm... I can't quite get my head around that mindset!

Some are not interested in the treasured photos of ancestors. To me those are the icing on the cake! They make my ancestor "real" for me. One of my relatives told me she wasn't interested in seeing a photo of our 2nd great-grandfather. Why wasn't she interested? Because, she said "Why do I care what he looked like? I never knew him."

To me that's kind of the point. A photo allows us to "know" our ancestors. With a photo I can study faces and ponder over whether or not great-grandma's nose isn't just like one of my granddaughters.  I can imagine the ancestors in those photos living their daily lives, just as we do today. And I feel a connection to those people.

How about you? How would you answer my friend's question, "Why do you do genealogy?"

June 23, 2012

Tribute to WW1 Soldier Walter Culbertson

This WW1 Medal is stamped with the name of the soldier on the side. It reads 3056604 (Regimental Number) and GNR (Gunner) R. Culbertson  C.F.A. We believe that CFA stands for Canadian Forces Artillery.

His Attestation Papers indexed provide more detail. Full name Walter Roy Culbertson, born November 26, 1888. The front of his form has been scanned and it shows that he was born in Cornwall Ontario and is single. He's a salesman and gives his father's name as James J. Culbertson, also residing in Cornwall.

Walter enlisted on 8 October 1917 in Kingston Ontario.

See p. 113 for more details on the Culbertson family. Walter Roy's parents were James Culbertson and Laura Gallinger.

In November 1922 Walter married Catherine Graveley in Cornwall [Source: 019259-22 Walter Roy CULBERTSON, 33, Clerk, Cornwall, Cornwall, s/o James G. CULBERTSON & Laurie GALLINGER; married Catherine Grace GRAVELEY, 34, Cornwall, Cornwall, d/o Walter GRAVELEY & Catherine MACGILLIS; witn Walter GRAVELEY & John GRAVELEY, both Cornwall & Isabella McGILLIS, Harrison, 6 Nov 1922, Cornwall on]

What happened to Walter? 

June 22, 2012

The Genealogist's Internet available at National Archives UK

The National Archives U.K. sent Olive Tree Genealogy the following announcement.

We're excited to announce that the fifth edition of The Genealogist's Internet is out now!

This new edition brings the popular title up-to-date, and is the comprehensive guide for anyone researching their family history online.

It not only covers all online resources now available, but also includes the impact of blogging, podcasting and social networking on family history research, allowing family historians to find others with similar research interests and to share their results.

This book is a must-have for any family historian - order your copy today.

June 21, 2012

Budget Cuts Affect Archives - Sign the Petition!

On April 30, 2012 Library and Archives Canada (LAC) eliminated the National Archival Development Program (NADP), a $1.7 million contribution program administered by the not-for-profit Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) and distributed to Canada's 13 archives councils to support archival activities locally.

NADP funding ensures that Canada's documentary heritage is both preserved in local communities and made available to the broader researching public.

There is an online petition asking that the National Archival Development Program not be cancelled as cancelling it puts the documentary history of Canada in jeopardy. (Anyone in any country can sign this petition - if you have Canadian ancestors, you will be affected by these cuts.)

The elimination of this Program appears to put LAC in contravention of the Library and Archives of Canada Act which empowers and obliges the LAC to  

"7(f) to support the development of the library and archival communities", as well as compromising the role of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada to "8 (i) provide professional, technical and financial support to those involved in the preservation and promotion of the documentary heritage and in providing access to it."
Olive Tree Genealogy has received emails from concerned genealogists. Here is one of the emails recently received:
I have been reading with some considerable concern about the
government's plans to make changes to Library and Archives Canada and wondering how this is going to affect genealogical research. I haven't seen it much discussed, and wondered if you have any thoughts about it. Here is one recent story, from the Tyee News. I can't see how this is not going to affect people researching their family history.
I think the writer is correct. Genealogists are going to be adversely impacted by these cutbacks. Can we do anything about it? I'm not hopeful but I have signed the online petition and written to my local MP.

For those who may have missed this -  Parks Canada and other Federal employees have been ordered not to criticize the government or discuss these budget cuts with anyone.  The official letter states, in part, that they are being reminded of their "obligations regarding public expression, whether through the media (including social media), large meetings or in other forums"

So now we have budget cuts being made that will adversely affect Canadians and others seeking historical or genealogical information, and Federal employees are being hit with what amounts to a gag order. I understand loyalty to one's employer but what about freedom of expression?

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have suggestions on the best way to express support for the Archives and the NADP?

I think it's very sad that there are only 6,000 signatures on the petition. Is this our typical Canadian apathy hitting us in the face? I am quite convinced that there are more than 6,000 genealogists and historians in Canada who will be affected by these cuts.

American friends - you can sign the petition too! I know that many of you have Canadian roots. So please take a moment to add your name to the 6,000.

June 20, 2012

Sizzling Summer Solstice Deals from Flip-Pal

Me & my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner
The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner mobile scanner Summer Solstice Coupons (two promotional offers)!

If you're a regular reader of Olive Tree Genealogy blog you know how much I love my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

I've scanned family photos and memoirs with my 87 year old auntie. I've taken it to archives, museums and libraries to scan documents, I've created pretty borders for treasured family photos - the list of what you can do with Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is endless. So if you don't have one, you might want to take advantage of these summer solstice coupons.

All promotion codes are active 12:00 a.m.–11:59 p.m. MDT (-6 GMT) on the dates listed.

Summer Solstice
Monday, June 18 – Saturday, June 30, 2012
Use Promotion Code: SSFP6A
Save $15 when you purchase a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner (Please place items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

Suite Summer Solstice
Monday, June 18 – Saturday, June 30, 2012
Use Promotion Code: SSS6A
Save $25 when you purchase a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner with Creative Suite Craft Edition DVD! (Please place items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

June 19, 2012

WW1 Soldier's Pocket Watch Found in Michigan!

R. H. Smedley's Pocket Watch from WW1
Recently Chad wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy about finding a watch that belonged to a soldier in WW1:

I am trying to find someone that once lived in or around Thamesville.  Here is the story, years ago when i was a kid i found a nice watch laying in a yard in Michigan. Inside there is some engraving indicating that this watch was given to RH Smedley by the friends of thamesville for his service in world war 1. I forgot about this watch but found it yesterday in a box.  I would just like to find a relative of RH that I can return this watch to. Any assistance you can provide would be much appreciated.
Pocket watch of R. H. Smedley CEF
Lorine's Research: Thamesville is in Kent County so I had a quick look in the online CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) records for that area.  There were 20 hits for the search term SMEDL*Y but only one with the initials R.H. - Ronald Herbert Smedley born Oct. 26, 1898.

Ronald's Attestation Paper (front) shows he was living in Thamesville when he enlisted November 1, 1916.

He was born in Blackpool, Lancashire England and his parents were Herbert and Maggie Smedley.

Starting with that information it should be possible to find out if he survived the war, had any siblings, or a wife and family who might like to have the watch.

I hope my readers will jump in to help find Ronald's family. Let's help Chad send this watch home!

Update: It only took a few hours and we have the names of 3 children for Ronald, who moved to Detroit Michigan from Thamesville Ontario, in 1920. See comments for more updates! Thanks everyone! Let's keep going and find Ronald's sons and grandchildren to let them know about this watch.

June 18, 2012

War of 1812 Free Acess to USA & Canadian Records

The War of 1812. This is the War that both sides (Canada and America) claim they won [FN] . It started on June 18, 1812 when America declared war on Great Britain. 

If your ancestor fought in this War, you can take advantage of the free War of 1812 databases online 
War of 1812 American Records - Free Access via Fold3 during June 2012

Fold3 observes the War of 1812 bicentennial with rich and revealing historical documents within the War of 1812 Collection. They include the War of 1812 Prize Cases from New York's Southern District Court, Letters Received by the Adjutant General, and War of 1812 Service Records for Lake Erie and Mississippi, and the War of 1812 Pension Files. 

War of 1812 Canadian Records - Free Access via LAC (Library & Archives Canada)

LAC has digitised and published its War of 1812 holdings online. These include the following records:
 These records are not indexed. The best method for finding an ancestor is to consult the HELP file for each set of records. There you will find an itemized list of what is on each microfilm reel. This will help you narrow your search but be prepared to spend some time scrolling through the pages. 

I spent some time on the Claims for Losses microfilm on Sunday and can tell you that there are some names indexed starting at image 272 on microfilm t-1123.

You can also consult Olive Tree Genealogy War of 1812 section as there are some smaller databases online.  These include several Canadian Muster Rolls, Lists of widow's receiving Canadian pensions, property losses, prisoners of war and more.

[FN] How can both sides claim they won the War of 1812? Easy. In a nutshell: USA won the Battle of New Orleans, the last battle of the war. America claims a win based on this battle. But it was fought after peace was declared. Thus Britain (and Canada) claim the win overall. As well, America never realized its objective to "annex" Canada, therefore that would in military and political circles be considered a loss.

Still interested? Read what an American historian had to say at Canada Won the War of 1812  

Spoiler alert: The article begins with "In a relatively rare admission for an American scholar, a leading U.S. historian who authored a provocative new tome about North American military conflicts states bluntly that Canada won the War of 1812."

Of course I'm not objective. Being a Canadian I believe that we won the war. But whoever won, we all lost many soldiers and civilians in some horrific battles. It is easy to perceive a War as "romantic" when in reality war is a horrible event. But nonetheless it happened and as genealogists we are naturally curious to know if one of our ancestors was involved and to what extent. Hopefully some of the databases that are being offered online will assist us in that quest.

June 16, 2012

Update on Newly Indexed States for 1940 US Census

  • 20 states have published searchable indexes on These states include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.   
  • 8 additional states are 100% indexed, arbitrated and in the final stage of preparation for posting. 
  • 3 additional states are 99% indexed and arbitrated.

June 15, 2012

Update Case #13: WW2 Soldier Hidden From German Army in Italy

Case #13 Henry aka Harry Taylor  a WW2 British Soldier hidden from German Army in Italy who later settled in California, has been solved.

Thanks to our team of volunteers and in particular Samuel J. whose search of the U.K. Electoral Rolls provided the correct names of Harry and his wife (Susan, not Gloria). The address on the photo sent by Nick confirmed that we have the right couple.

Next came searches of many different records including Births and Marriages on Free BMD where a search found the marriage of Harry C. Taylor and Susan R. Willmott in December 1938.

Ships Passenger Lists, Border Crossing Records Canada to USA and other records on turned up more information. Susan Ruth Taylor, wife of Harry, and three children, Gloria Rose, Brenda Susan and Wayne Charles were found crossing from Canada at Detroit Michigan in 1952.

Harry was found on a separate crossing one month later, going from Canada to Salt Lake City Utah. It was noted that he arrived in Canada by plane in 1947.

Naturalization records were also found dated July 1958 for the family who were living in W. Covina California.

One item of great interest was found on the National Archives for UK  A search of their online database provided a reference to Harry's experiences as a POW in Italy during WW2. For a small fee Nick was able to download the file and learn about his grandparents' part in helping Harry hide during one of his many escapes. It was fascinating reading as Harry escaped more than once and was re-captured each time.

There were many other records found but they contain information about living individuals (their dates and locations of birth, Susan's parents and siblings etc) so I won't share that here on Olive Tree Genealogy blog.

Suffice it to say that a phone number and address for one of the children of Harry and Susan Taylor was given to Nick, and contact has been made. Harry is deceased but his wife is still alive.

All in all another happy ending thanks to my wonderful readers to a very challenging case!

June 14, 2012

Planning a Family Fun Day aka Family Reunion

Are you having a family reunion this year? I have one every summer. We call them Family Fun Days because I want everyone to have fun. Every year I plan a different team activity. 

Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunts are popular. They're the easiest to set up. I have my family work with a partner. They don't choose their own partner, instead I have different ways for them to find one. Sometimes they have ancestor cards and have to find the person who has the matching card. Or they are given pictures of farm animals and have to find their partner match by making the animal sound.

Amazing Genealogy Race
Last year I created a Genealogy themed race. It was a version of the Amazing Race but each activity teams went to was based on a real event that happened to one of our ancestors. This required posters with instructions for each event, as well as hiding clues in plastic eggs, and arranging for referees at each event. It was super fun and hilariously funny but tons of work so I won't do that one again any time soon!

This year I'm debating creating another Scavenger Hunt but this time giving it a genealogy twist. I haven't worked out all the details yet but I've got two months to think about it.

Fun & Games
It's great to have one organized game with a prize for the winner(s) but you also want to let your family just talk and enjoy themselves. My rule of thumb is that the race or the Scavenger Hunt should not take more than an hour, but I aim for 45 minutes.

I put out lots of activities such as hula hoops, foam lawn darts, golf clubs, croquet set, football and so on. We also clean out the horseshoe pit and hubs makes sure the ATV is gassed up and ready to go.

Our ATV holds two small children on the back seat plus hubs driving, and I think it's the favourite part of the day for the grandchildren!

If you're running your Fun Day alone, you need to be super-organized. Here's a few tips that might help.

What do you do for your Family Fun Days?

June 13, 2012

National Genealogical Society Announces 2012 Awards

The following press release was sent to Olive Tree Genealogy. There are some terrific awards given to some amazing genealogists!

Arlington, VA, 12 JUNE 2012: The National Genealogical Society presented its annual awards at the 2012 Family History Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, 9–12 May 2012. Each year, these awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NGS programs or have performed outstanding work in the field of genealogy, history, biography, or heraldry.

Kay Haviland Freilich, cgsm, cglsm, was named a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society for her outstanding volunteer work on the Society’s behalf. Kay is a respected teacher, editor, author, and lecturer. She also serves on the editorial staff of the NGS Magazine, has contributed to many NGS conference committees, and was program chair for the Valley Forge family history conference in 1997.

The President’s Citation was presented to Melinde Lutz Byrne, cgsm, fasg, in recognition of her assistance with NGS’ video series, Voices of Genealogy; her ongoing work with the NGS Quarterly’s centennial celebration; and her work as an NGSQ co-editor.

The Family History Writing Contest award is presented to an individual who submits a scholarly article with a compiled family history of at least three generations using a broad variety of research resources. The 2012 contest attracted such a high caliber of entries that the judges chose two recipients: F. Warren Bitner, cgsm, for “Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: the Buettner Family from Germany to America,” and Michael Hait, cgsm, for “In the Shadow of Rebellions.” These articles will be published in upcoming editions of the NGSQ.

The Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship is awarded to a librarian with at least five years’ experience whose primary focus is genealogy and local history and who is employed in a public, academic, or special library. This year’s award, and a $1,000 prize underwritten by ProQuest, went to Debbi Lyon of the Blasco Memorial Library in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Filby Award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. Since 2006, the award has been sponsored by ProQuest. In addition to their sponsorship of the prize, ProQuest also acts as underwriting sponsor and key partner for our pre-conference librarians’ day program.

The Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism was awarded to Charles “Chuck” S. Mason Jr., cgsm, a longtime dedicated volunteer at the NGS office in Arlington, Virginia. Named in honor of a past society president and continuing dedicated servant of NGS, this award highlights the sort of selfless, dedicated, and reliable service that is necessary in any genealogical society, whatever its size or place.

The Distinguished Service Awards were presented to the following three individuals: Patricia R. Baars for her longstanding and dedicated service as a grader for the NGS Home Study Course. Graders play a vital role in the success and utility of our NGS American Genealogy: Home Study Course. Mr. Clair Crawford and Dr. Thomas Shawker for their six-year effort to make the AMA Deceased Physician Research Service a success.

The Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Sharon McKinnis. Since December 2010, Sharon has been scanning the Member Ancestor Charts (MACs). Sharon is extremely dedicated, coming to the NGS office twice weekly and working five hours a day on this project. After the charts are scanned, they are uploaded to the NGS website for use by NGS members. Since Sharon began volunteering, more than 17,000 new charts have become available on the NGS website.

The NGS Award of Merit was awarded to Marvin Wilhite, for his exceptional volunteer effort and dedicated service to patrons at the Marshall [Missouri] Public Library’s Genealogy Room.

The NGS Genealogy Hall of Fame honors individuals who, during their lifetime, made significant contributions to genealogy and set the high standards by which we work today. This year, Josephine Cosette Mayou Stillman Frost (1864-1942) was elected to the NGS Genealogy Hall of Fame. During the first four decades of the twentieth century, she was one of the most important contributors to New York genealogy. Frost was nominated by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

The Milton Rubincam Youth Awards are intended to encourage and recognize youth as the next generation of family historians. The Senior Rubincam Award recipient was Nathan Thomas Wheeler of Georgia; the Junior Rubincam Award recipient was Oliver Patterson of California.

The NGSQ Award for Excellence, for an outstanding article published in the NGSQ in the previous calendar year, was presented to Teri D. Tilman, cgsm, of New Orleans, for the article “Using Indirect Evidence and Linguistic Analysis to Trace Polin Ries of New Orleans.”

The award of a scholarship for NGS’s advanced studies course, American Genealogy: The Home Study Course, is intended to encourage those pursuing a career in genealogy and who have demonstrated serious interest in genealogy. This year’s recipient was Susan Griffis of Indiana.

The Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book is presented for a family genealogy or family history book that serves to foster scholarship and/or otherwise advances or promotes excellence in genealogy. This year’s recipients were Christopher Child and Scott Steward of the New England Historic Genealogical Society for The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

The Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources is presented for a book or article that discusses genealogical methods and sources. This year’s recipient was Paul K. Graham, cgsm, for Georgia Land Lottery Research, published by the Georgia Genealogical Society.

The NGS Newsletter Competition recognizes the hard work, long hours, and creativity that editors devote to their newsletters. This year’s categories and winners are:
Major Genealogical or Historical Society Newsletter
Winner: Ohio Genealogy News, Ohio Genealogical Society
Honorable Mention: Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Newsletter, Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
County or Local Genealogical or Historical Society Newsletter
Winner: PastFinder, Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group
Honorable Mention: The Missouri Patriot, Missouri Society—Sons of the Revolution 1776
Family Association Newsletter
Winner: The Timen Stiddem Society Newsletter, The Timen Stiddem Society
Honorable Mention: Our Endicott Heritage Trail, Endecott-Endicott Family Association

The Award of Honor was presented to the Ohio Genealogical Society and the Hamilton County Chapter of OGS for their dedication and sustained service in support of the NGS Family History Conference in Cincinnati in May, and to Kenny Burck, Local Host Chair. Certificates of Appreciation were given to seven individuals for their volunteer service to help make the conference a success. NGS would like to recognize the tireless work of the following volunteers, both in the months leading up to and during the conference: Deb Cyprych, Barbara Gargiulo, Jean Nathan, Sandy St. Martin, Liz Stratton, Patricia Moseley Van Skaik, and Jean Woll. 

June 12, 2012

MyHeritage hits one billion profiles

The following Press Release was received by Olive Tree Genealogy yesterday. 
PROVO, Utah & LONDON & TEL AVIV, Israel – June 11, 2012: MyHeritage, the most popular family network on the web, today announced that it has reached the milestone of one billion profiles. The billion individuals in nearly 23 million family trees, created by the millions of families using MyHeritage worldwide, constitute a gigantic network for discovering family heritage and connecting to relatives.
With more than 63 million registered users, MyHeritage has become the trusted home on the web for families wishing to explore their family history, share memories and stay connected. Combining the world’s largest international pool of family tree data with billions of historical records, MyHeritage helps break through brick walls in family history research. The site is available in 38 languages.
Approximately one million profiles are added every day to the MyHeritage network, and on average 600 thousand new registered users join every month. A sophisticated technology called Smart Matching™ fuels new family discoveries by matching profiles in different family trees, creating new family connections every day for users.
“Reaching one billion profiles is an important milestone in the prolific growth of MyHeritage, solidifying our position as the international go-to destination for families,” said Founder and CEO of MyHeritage, Gilad Japhet. “We constantly strive to develop cutting-edge technologies that create a network effect within this big data resource. As more content is uploaded to MyHeritage by our users around the world, they discover more family connections and relevant historical documents, adding color and depth to their family history. With a billion profiles and some exciting new innovations in store, we look forward to continuing our phenomenal growth in the coming years.”
Approximately half of the billion family tree profiles on MyHeritage are living people, enabling users to connect to relatives, collaborate on family history research and share memories. The other half billion profiles who are deceased help connect the living through shared ancestors. With a diverse user base, spanning every country and continent, MyHeritage represents a gateway to a massive variety of family histories from different cultures, religions and ethnic backgrounds.
The company’s expansion into historical content, following its acquisition of family history sites WorldVitalRecords and FamilyLink in November 2011 and its April 2012 announcement to provide the 1940 U.S. Census free of charge, has turned MyHeritage into a leading site for family history research, whilst continuing in parallel its focus on current-day family engagement. The MyHeritage mobile app, launched in December 2011, enables families to share special everyday moments and explore their family history all-on-the-go, and has amassed more than 750 thousand installations already.
Protecting the privacy of users and their family trees, information on living people is not disclosed and collaboration on family tree research is by invitation only.

June 11, 2012

Top 40 Genealogy Blogs for 2012

Family Tree Magazine has listed its Top 40 Genealogy Blogs in Around the World in 40 Blogs

Olive Tree Genealogy blog is honoured to be on the list! Family Tree Magazine states:
"We chose these blogs based on their overall quality of content and design, potential interest to other researchers, and relatively current status."
Thank you to my readers for making my blog so popular!

June 9, 2012

1940 US Census: 18 States Searchable by Name on FamilySearch


More than Half of the 1940 U.S. Census Records Indexed in Just Two Months Thanks to Thousands of Volunteers Across the U.S.

07 June 2012

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (June 7, 2012)The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project announced today that its searchable index of 1940 U.S. census records has reached – and surpassed – the halfway mark toward completion. Thanks to the efforts of more than 125,000 volunteers, more than 75 million names from the 1940 U.S. census have been indexed with 18 state records already available to the public on all Project partner websites, including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA),, and The records will also be made available in more than 7,000 public libraries nationwide in the coming months by ProQuest. The national service project, the first and largest of its kind, aims to establish a comprehensive searchable database and make the 1940 U.S. census records available for free.
Following just two months of volunteer indexing, records for the following 18 U.S. states are currently available and searchable by name, location and family relation:
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming
“We believe that all people deserve free access to the 1940 U.S. census records so they can learn more about their family history, ancestors and the past. With the help of the Community Project partners, and especially volunteer indexers across the nation, we’re halfway to our goal,” said Megan Smolenyak, spokesperson for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. “We didn’t expect to make this much progress only two months after the 1940 census records were released, so we’re excited and thankful to all of the enthusiastic volunteers.”
Since April 2, Community Project volunteers have indexed more than 75 million records and this number continues to grow quickly as more than 7,000 volunteers sign up each week. The timely progression of making the census records freely searchable online is a direct result of the growing numbers of volunteers. Those interested in lending a hand can learn more and sign up to be an official 1940 U.S. census volunteer indexer at the 1940 census website ( The project will release free searchable records for individual states as they are completed. 
The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is a joint initiative between the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA),,,, ProQuest and other leading genealogy organizations. Thanks to advancements in technology, online volunteers worldwide can lend a voice to countless untold stories of their ancestors living, working and persevering as the “Greatest Generation.”
“Volunteer indexers have the unique opportunity to step into the past and read through hand-written records captured by census enumerators as they walked from house to house,” said Joshua Taylor, spokesperson for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. “Through indexing, volunteers are essentially reliving history and helping provide others with the access they need to gain greater insights into the life and times of their own ancestors more than 72 years ago.” 
To learn more about the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, track real-time progress of volunteer indexing efforts or become a volunteer, visit