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November 30, 2013

WARNING! MediaFire Cloud Storage - 2 Thumbs Down

WARNING! MediaFire Cloud Storage - 2 Thumbs Down Recently I heard about MediaFire, a cloud storage service. According to their welcome page "With 50GB of free space, you can use MediaFire to backup all your important files—and even your not-so-important ones too."

It's important to note that there is no fine print, no caveat, no details and no other mention of the amount of space given to you when you sign up for MediaFire. 

So let me ask you how much space you BELIEVE you are given when you create an account - 50 GB?

Well if you thought that, you're wrong. You get 10 GB on signup. Yes, you can jump through hoops and earn more free space UP TO 50 GB but contrary to the implied message on their welcome page you do not start with 50 GB

Now I have no problem completing tasks to obtain more free space. What I have a problem with is the sneakiness of the message! Be aboveboard and honest and tell newcomers that they start with 10GB and can earn 40 more.

That was Strike One for me. 

But I started earning my extra GB. I created an avatar for which I was to get 1GB. It never got added to my account. I completed two other "tasks" and earned 4 GB. If I linked my Facebook and Twitter accounts I could earn more. I didn't like the sound of that as there is no need for my Social Media accounts to be linked. That was Strike Two

Then I started reading about some issues with MediaFire - among other issues was one that concerned me -  that private files were sometimes inadvertently shared with strangers. That was Strike Three and at that point I decided to delete my account.

Easier said than done! I could not find any way to delete the account I had opened. I consulted the Help File. The instructions were simple and clearly explained but when I followed them I had no "DELETE MY ACCOUNT" button on the page where it was supposed to be. Finally I wrote to Customer Support for help. 24 hours later I had my answer. Here is what they said:

"The delete button appears after the account has been open for at least 7 days.  Until then, the account cannot be deleted. "

Are they kidding me?? A new customer is held hostage for 7 days and cannot leave the service? Strike Four. I was flabbergasted and very annoyed so I replied that I did not wish to keep my account open for 7 days. I demanded they delete my account for me since I had no way of doing that.

I should note that I also posted on their Facebook page, and tweeted them on their Twitter account with no response.

Five days passed and MediaFire Customer Support had not responded. Strike Five.  I wrote again thanking them for providing me with such terrific material for the negative review I would be writing on my blog. I mentioned the review ould be posted on Twitter, Pinterest, Google + and Facebook. I demanded they delete my account on my behalf.

Within 2 hours I had a response. Interesting that it took a threat of a negative review to elicit any response let alone such a quick one! Strike Six

Their response? Here it is: 

"Unfortunately that is the only way to delete an account. We are not holding any hostage. We are ensuring that you have time to test the services we offer and it is our way to reduce the amount of garbage accounts.

After seven days from when you created your account you will be able to log in and delete it."

On Day 7 I followed instructions in the Help File, found the DELETE MY ACCOUNT button which had magically appeared on my page, and deleted my account. 

On Day 9, using a different browser, I returned to MediaFire and tried my login information. I did this because at this point I do not trust this service. Lo and behold MY ACCOUNT STILL EXISTS! I can see my files, my account name, the fact that I earned more GB and have a total of 14 GB of space etc.

On the Account and Billing Information page, which is where the DELETE MY ACCOUNT button appeared after 7 days of being held hostage, that button is no longer there. 

I will be writing to MediaFire Customer Support again but meantime I urge others to give MediaFire a pass. Use a reliable cloud storage service such as Dropbox which does not use trickery or strongarm tactics to keep its customers. 

And wish me luck in getting my account deleted once and for all.

November 29, 2013

Black Friday Online Genealogy Specials

Black Friday Online Genealogy Specials
* Family Tree DNA:

Free $100 Gift Card

Every Family Finder purchase comes with a free $100 gift card. You can keep it for yourself or treat someone to a meal!  It's our way of saying thank you.

10% OFF 2+

Give the perfect gift this season to a loved one. Genealogy helps bridge the gaps in your Family Tree and assists in learning more about your roots. This applies when you order 2 Family Finder tests from Family Tree DNA

Upgrade to annual membership. 40% off on Fold3

* Shutterfly

10 free Holiday Cards. Promo Code BLACKFRIDAY at Shutterfly 

Credits: "Black Friday Sticker" by Iamnee on

November 28, 2013

Did President Truman Pardon a Turkey?

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. We Canadians have already celebrated our Thanksgiving back in October but no matter when you celebrate, it's a day of gathering with family and enjoying the holiday feast! 

And of course the traditional Turkey with Stuffing appears on almost every table today. 

Not all countries or cultures celebrate Thanksgiving but if you do then I wish you the happiest of holidays today! 

But did President Truman once pardon a turkey destined to be dinner one Thanksgiving many years ago? 

Read the story at A History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon

Credits: Image  Thanksgiving turkey for the President, 11/26/29 from the Library of Congress

November 27, 2013

Mysterious Package of Rev. J. E. Foote in 1912 Time Capsule

Mysterious Package of Rev. J. E. Foote in 1912 Time Capsule
1920 Census James E. Foote
Recently a 1912 Time Capsule in Trinity Episcopal Church in Grand Ledge Michigan was opened. Inside were the usual items - photographs, newspapers, etc. But one item was a package from the Rev. J. E. Foote who labelled himself as "Congregational Minister" Rev. Foote included instructions on the package wrapping that the package was to be delivered to his descendants for opening.

The problem is that Church members have no idea who Rev. Foote was. His package is not listed in the Church list of items placed in the Time Capsule. 

Matt Novak of Paleofuture wrote about this in a story called Mysterious Package Found in Century-Old Time Capsule

Anyone wishing to help in the search for Rev. Foote and his descendants can join in the discussion on Mr. Novak's article.

I did a quick search and found that the James E. Foote age 41 is found in the 1910 census for Antrim Michigan and is listed as "Minister - Church". His wife Maud is 39, and their children are Ruth (17), Mary (16) , Edward (14) and Arthur (13). 

In 1920 James E. Foote is in Grand Ledge Michigan with his wife Maude, son James A. Foote, daughters Ruth Bendall and Mary Shearer and a grand daughter Jean Shearer. He is listed as a bookkeeper for the Parish church.

I have no doubt that my wonderful super sleuth readers can find a descendant of the Rev. James E. Foote. 

November 26, 2013

RootsIreland Specials

RootsIreland Specials
This announcement was sent out by Roots Ireland. Something to think about if you have Irish ancestors! is delighted to announce that all records will have a discount of 40% until Wednesday, December 4th 2013 (midnight IrishTime/GMT). You can purchase any record for just 15 credits instead of the usual 25 credits.

To obtain this offer just go to the following site and login using your existing IFHF login details.
We now have over 20 million records online and recently added further records from Counties Armagh and Monaghan.

November 25, 2013

Is Your Genealogy Family History Backed Up and Safe?

Is Your Genealogy Family History Backed Up and Safe?
Recently this story appeared on a British website Burglars steal a laptop holding family history

It seems a local chauffeur had his home broken into and several items stolen. Among the stolen items was a laptop which contained a 12-year family history project which his father, aged 87, had been working on. 

And you guessed it, there were no backup copies. Ouch! 

The prudent thing to do is protect your genealogy research! Back it up in a cloud storage site, on a flash drive, on an external hard drive, or wherever. Make more than one copy and don't have them all in one home. Give one to your brother or sister or son or daughter or a friend. 

That way if you have a fire or flood or are burgled, all your family data will not be lost. Remember that old adage - don't put all your eggs in one basket

That holds true for genealogy research and family tree data as well. Keep it safe and don't lose what you have probably spent years compiling.

I use Drobox and Bitcasa as my cloud storage and I also have Western Digital MyBookLive for a personal cloud storage system networked to all my laptops and computers. 

As well I have Western Digital Passports for a portable external hard drive system where I can store my files. You can read my review of all of these at Five Cloud Storage Services Revisited

I also like to create  books on Shutterfly which hold a summary of the family ancestors along with photos and scanned documents. I keep one copy for myself and gift other copies to my children and siblings. The more places I can put my family trees the more chance they will survive. 

If you've never created a book using Shutterfly you may want to watch my Shutterfly video tutorials showing how at Creating a Memory Book - Video Tutorials 

Credits: image of burglar by chanpipat  and image of "Cloud Computing Devices" by ddpavumba on

November 24, 2013

New study claims that Irishmen descended from Turkish farmers

New study claims that Irishmen descended from Turkish farmers

A new study has revealed that many Irish men may be able to trace their roots back to Turkey.

Research indicates Turkish farmers arrived in Ireland about 6,000 years ago, bringing agriculture with them. And they may have been more attractive than the hunter-gatherers whom they replaced.

DNA testing of the Y chromosome in men conducted by scientists at the University of Leicester revealed that 85% of Irish men are descended from farming people from the Middle East and especially Turkey.

Interested in having your DNA tested? Here are two sites worth using:

Family Tree DNA or

Read more:

November 23, 2013

Looking for WW2 Canadian Soldiers in Belgium

Looking for WW2 Canadian Soldiers in Belgium
Olive Tree Genealogy received the following note as a comment on one of my blog posts. I don't usually post such items but decided this request was intriguing enough to warrant its own placement here. 

Mr. Landsheer was willing to have his email published so if you can help, please post your information here in the comments section and also send it to Mr. Landsheer's email.

Here is his note:
I am from Belgium and looking for information about Canadian soldiers during WW2. During the war Gent was liberated by Canadian soldiers. Some of these men stayed by the local people of Gent. Some stayed by my grandparents. Both sides kept contact by writing letters. 

Here some information about some soldiers: 

Name Mac Leod Roy his wife Evelin and son Laurie adress: 338 St George Moncton New Brunswick Canada Army unit: C Comp. North S. Regiment C.A.O. 

Name: Eddy Duggan (soldier)his father William Duggan Toronto - Ontario 

Name: Wilkinson Johnny adress: 548 8av and 6419 - 11the Rosemount Montreal 

 Name: Miss Cappi mother of one of the soldiers 

I look forward to more information and I hope some still alive. 

My name: yves De Landsheer 

Credits: "Lost Or Found Directions" by Stuart Miles on FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

November 22, 2013

New Map Feature on Pinterest is Pretty Cool

Pinterest has a new feature - the ability to add maps to your boards and pins.  Basically you create a board - here's mine which I just created this morning. It's called Ancestors' Homes

Then you start adding your pins. I decided to add photos of my ancestors, but I could have added any picture (census record, a building, etc) - and it can come from a website or my own computer.

After you add a pin you add the map by typing in the name of the city or town that you want to pin to your photo. 

When you are done, you will see a larger map (as you see here above on the right) which shows all your pins. The pins are on my map are numbered so you can match them to the pictures you put on your board.

This seems to have many genealogical aspects as you could create boards that show immigration patterns or your ancestors' burial spots or birth locations and so on. 

I've only got 3 pins so far on my one map board but wanted to share this new feature with you before heading back to Pinterest to add more. If you want to follow my boards on Pinterest, just go to my boards at Lorine MS

November 21, 2013

Family Search Update of Records from Austria, Brazil, Italy, South Africa & USA

FamilySearch Adds More Than 3.2 Million Indexed Records and Images to Collections from Austria, Brazil, Italy, South Africa, and the United States
FamilySearch Adds More Than 3.2 Million Indexed Records and Images to Collections from Austria, Brazil, Italy, South Africa, and the United States

FamilySearch has added more than 3.2 million indexed records and images from Austria, BillionGraves, Brazil, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the United States.

Notable collection updates include the 1,157,399 images from the Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980, collection, the 324,226 images from the newSouth Africa, Eastern Cape, Estate Files, 1962–2004 and South Africa, Western Cape, Estate Files, 1966–2004, collections, and the 71,367 indexed records from the U.S., Minnesota, Naturalization Card Index, 1930–1988, collection 

Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at

November 20, 2013

Defying Age

This video is inspiring. It focuses on 6 women, all seniors and all amazing in their confidence, sense of personal style and outlook on life and aging.

It really has very little to do with genealogy except for the fact that genealogists all age (as does everyone). And I think it's important to age well, that is, to leave a memory of oneself behind that your descendants will be proud of or at least will talk about!

I think I personally have lost some of my daring and self-confidence as I've aged. I refuse to let age defeat me though even though I do have mobility issues. When I use my cane in public I realize that others perceive me as frail and old. But I refuse to give in to those perceptions and the women in this video have inspired me to be even stronger.

So for all the senior female genealogists reading my blog, and for the younger women too, please do watch this video and let it (hopefully) inspire you too.

November 19, 2013

Serendipity Brings Soldier's Diary Back to his Sweetheart after 70 Years

Serendipity Brings Soldier's Diary Back to his Sweetheart after 70 Years
This is truly a beautiful story. 90 year old Laura Mae (Davis) Burlingame was visiting the National WW2 Museum in New Orleans when she spotted her photo in a display case.

The photo was of Laura Mae as a young woman and was part of a display featuring the uniform and diary of Marine Corporal Thomas Jones. Corporal Jones had been killed by a sniper's bullet in 1944 at the age of 22. Laura Mae's photo, signed by her with "Love, Laurie" was taped into the back cover of his diary.

Inside Jones had written  "my life history of my days in the U.S. Marine Corps ... And most of all my love for Laura Mae for whom my heart is completely filled. So if you all get a chance please return it to her. I (am) writing this as my last life request."

Jones and Laura Mae were sweethearts in High School and she gave him the diary before he left to go overseas. Laura Mae now has copies of the entire diary dedicated to her by her sweetheart of so many years ago.

Read more and view photos at Marine's World War II diary, bequeathed to his high-school sweetheart, found by her 70 years later

November 18, 2013

Irish Surnames Explained - What are the Top 10?

Irish Surnames Explained - What are the Top 10?
Do you or an ancestor have an Irish surname? Ever wondered what it means? Irish Central came up with a list of the 10 most common Irish surnames and published the list along with the  origins and meaning of the names. 

You can read about them at Irish surnames explained - the meaning behind the top ten clan names

My McGinnis surname didn't make the cut but luckily I know it means "son of Angus". And I know the origins. In fact none of my Irish ancestor names made the list and neither did hubs'. But it was still fun to read about those that did

Hubs has more Irish than I do - Kennedy, Jackson, Hogan, Moyahan (Minihan), Hayden, Massey, Montgomery, Graham, and Johnson

Mine are McGinnis, Downey, Johnson, and Greenlees

What are your Irish names?

November 17, 2013

Lucky 13? 13 Things You Never Knew About Me

Lucky 13? 13 Things You Never Knew About Me
There's been a fun "meme" going on over on Facebook. You are given a number and using that number you must reveal things that others probably don't know about you.

I was given the number 13 (!!) so here are 13 things you probably never knew about me. (If you want to join in on the comment section of this post, use the number 3)

1. I learned to belly dance when I was in my 30s

2. I detest chocolate - the smell, the taste -- hate it all

3. I love Math! I could do algebraic equations for hours

4. I was once on a game show with host Alex Trebeck (before he was famous) which aired on CBC in 1969. I think I was on in 1970. I won a washer and dryer but Alex kept mispronouncing my name so I corrected him. Yes. While we were on the air....

5. I can play the French Horn

6. I sprained my wrists when I fell off the roof of our porch while handcuffed to the boy next-door. Okay okay we were playing Cops and Robbers and we climbed on the roof (we were the bad guys) and he said "Jump!" and I didn't but he did..... so down I went.

7. As a kid I was terrified of horses so when I was 13 I signed up for horse riding lessons to try to overcome my fear. It didn't work. I'm still scared of horses

8. I was so shy and introverted as a kid that I kept my hair long so it would fall over my face when I read and no one could see me

9. I am geographically & directionally challenged. I can get lost coming out of a store in the mall.

10. I won the medal for highest marks at Wilfred Laurier University when I was getting my B.A.

11. I paint and I used to sculpt. I had a few watercolours in a show several years ago.

12. I am scared of turkeys. They make creepy noises (veet, veet!) and they peck and they are very tall

13. I used to sail competitively and during one race I met Gordon Lightfoot. Well, okay truth is he yelled at me cuz he was peeved.....

November 16, 2013

WW 1 Photo Album Archive pages 9 & 10

Continuing on with my WW1 Photo Album archive here are the 9th and 10th pages in my mother's cousin Doris Simpson's  photo album. These photos were all taken ca 1916 and are mostly of my Grandfather and Grandmother Fuller and their two daughters - my aunt Lily and my mother.

Auntie Cordie's sister, Lillian Simpson, Cordelia (Cook) Simpson front
Grandma Fuller and mother with clothes hanging to dry
Grandpa Fuller & Mother
Grandma Fuller's sister Lillian Simpson
Lillian Fuller
Lillian and Joan Fuller
My mother ca 1916

November 15, 2013

Ever Wonder How Your Ancestors Celebrated Birthdays?

Ever Wonder How Your Ancestors Celebrated Birthdays?
Our culture celebrates birthdays. But have we always done this? Many people in the 19th century had no clue what their actual date of birth was, therefore they could not celebrate a birthday. 

My ancestor Levi Peer wrote to his mother in the 1830s asking her when he was born as he needed that information. Had he not required it he likely would have gone his whole life not knowing the date. 

Let's face it, unless one was wealthy most of our ancestors were too busy struggling to survive to worry about a birthday. Birthday celebrations seem to have jumped into common use in the Victorian age and have been carried on since then.

As a child I do not recall having one single birthday party. I don't remember other children coming to our home to celebrate with me. In fact I don't recall anything special on my birthdays except I suppose I was given a small gift. When I was 10  my new sister-in-law who was just 18 years old, was horrified to find out I had never had a birthday cake and so she made one just for me. I was thrilled to have my own special cake with candles. That's the only time I had a cake on my birthday. 

Which brings me to today. It's my birthday and even though as each year passes I sometimes wish I could be like Benjamin Button, time does march on. A new number is added to our age. To help me through this one, I've asked insisted that hubs get a birthday cake for me. That's right, I want a cake this year. I've never had one just for me since that 10th birthday. I think it's time! 

Hubs has been a bit worried about accomplishing this task as I have multiple food allergies and so I have very specific requirements for what kind of cake I want. We live in a rural community surrounded by small towns and the local stores do not do custom cakes. I've told him I will even accept a couple of nice cupcakes as long as they are the flavour I want (lemon icing, white cake or white icing, lemon cake)

After I finish this blog post I'm also taking the day off. Normally I work 7 days a week on my books, my websites, my blogs and my genealogy but today I'm treating as a special day to do whatever I feel like. And that just might be lying on the couch watching movies all day so please don't anyone disturb me unless you're calling or writing to wish me a Happy Birthday. And if you're dropping by please bring cake. :-)


November 14, 2013

Removing Clippings to Preserve Ledger Book Pages from the 1890s

Removing Clippings to Preserve Ledger Book Pages from the 1890sMy fingers are prunes. Yesterday saw me with my hands in warm water as I soaked ledger pages from the 1890s in order to remove newspaper clippings from the 1928 Boston Globe.

My readers may recall that I bought a new toy, a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac (PA03656-B005)and that one of my plans was to scan the pages of old ledger books that I have purchased over the years.

One of the ledgers I was scanning was from a delivery service of some kind. Every page had names, street addresses, item(s) purchased, cost of delivery and a delivery date. But the first dozen or so pages had been glued over on both sides with clippings from newspapers dated 1928.

While it's always interesting to read old newspaper tidbits and articles, there were no births, deaths, marriages or obituaries so I decided that the names and details underneath were of more value to genealogists. That led me to the decision to try to remove the clippings. I am pleased to say that my idea worked extremely well!

Soaking each ledger page in water
First I put a bit of warm water in a dishtub, then I gently soaked the pages, one at a time. Most of the clippings were easily removed and the ledger pages did not tear, nor did the ink disappear.

The words underneath becoming visible
After peeling off the clippings I hung the wet pages on my antique drying rack. Within a few hours they were dry. My next step was to lay them flat on a hard surface and place a heavy ream of paper on top to help flatten them.

The ledger pages drying on my antique rack
I will scan the pages today, save them as PDF files and the project will be ready to upload to my husband's website Ancestors At Rest All in all there were over 300 pages of names in this ledger book so I am excited to bring it online for all to see

November 13, 2013

Reconstructed New York Ships Passenger Lists 1624 to 1664

A few years ago I started reconstructing ships' passenger lists to New Netherland (present day New York) from various sources (see below for details)

In some cases, I've been able to reconstruct names for a ship list that has never been published before! In other cases, I've been able to add names to previously published lists. This is an Olive Tree Genealogy exclusive and is freely available at
ships' passenger lists to New Netherland

I reconstructed the names of those sailing on various ships from the following sources. Please note that not every source was used to reconstruct every ship. I have indicated which sources were used for each individual:

  1. Abstracts from Notarial Documents in the Amsterdam Archives by Pim Nieuwenhuis published in New Netherland Connections in series Vol. 4:3,4; Vol. 5:1-3 (hereafter NNC)
  2. Early Immigrants to New Netherland 1657-1664 from The Documentary History of New York (hereafter EINN)
  3. Settlers of Rensselaerswyck 1630-1658 in Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts (hereafter VRB)
  4. E. B. O'Callaghan's Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany NY (hereafter CHM)
  5. New World Immigrants: List of Passengers 1654 to 1664 edited by Michael Tepper (hereafter NWI)
  6. Emigrants to New Netherland by Rosalie Fellows Bailey, , NYGBR; vol 94 no 4 pp 193-200 (hereafter ENN)
  7. De Scheepvaart en handel van de NederlandseRepubliek op Nieuw-Nederland 1609-1675 unpublished thesis by Jaap Jacobs [hereafter JJ][Olive Tree Genealogy database]
  8. The records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674 [hereafter RNA] [an online book from]
The ships passenger lists begin in 1624 with a reconstructed list of names and end in 1664 with a total of 64 ships. 

November 12, 2013

My Latest Toy - the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner

My Latest Toy - the Fijitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner This is my latest toy - a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. It's an automatic document feeder scanner and what makes it special is these abilities:
  • Can connect iX500 to computer via Wi-Fi
  • Can forward scanned data to a mobile device via Wi-Fi
  • Scans to Evernote, Google Docs and Dropbox
  • Scans in duplex
It comes with some bundled software and works with both Mac and Windows computers. It will scan up to 600 dpi in colour or greyscale and 1200 dpi in black and white if you need the best quality resolution but at the lesser dpi it is crystal clear.

Most sizes are recognized and easily scanned - business cards, postcards, letters, legal size paper, letter size paper, receipts of all sizes, etc

If you use the included Carrier Sheet you can also scan fragile items such as photographs or oversize items. I haven't tried this yet but I plan to!

You can connect to your computer via WiFi or a USB port. When scanning you can insert 25 pages at one time into the feeder, press the scan button and in seconds the scans are on your computer. Then you choose where/how you want the file(s) to go - to a folder convert to a searchable PDF file, to email, to a mobile device, to Evernote, to Google Docs or to Dropbox. It is super easy and fast to set up and I am having a wonderful time scanning items and sending them to various locations.

So far I've scanned receipts and other personal papers. My next goal is to scan genealogy documents and other miscellaneous records. Going completely paperless will not be possible but I do plan on reducing our paper clutter as much as possible.  The ScanSnap is going to aid me in that goal.

I am also going to scan the original ledger books that my husband and I have collected over the years. We had intended to transcribe the pages and put them on his website Ancestors At Rest, but the task has proven too overwhelming. 

3rd basket of discarded papers in 2 days
Rather than have the books sit in our basement gathering dust and probably be thrown out at some point, we are going to carefully cut the pages out and scan them as searchable PDF files, then upload those files to the website. That way other genealogists and descendants will be able to access these one-of-a-kind books.

We feel no need to preserve the actual physical integrity of these old ledger books as the important part is to make the contents accessible. And we do not have the physical space to continue storing the books, some of which are quite large (and heavy)

You can get Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac (PA03656-B005) at or any of the big stores but Amazon seems to sell it cheaper than many others. In fact right now it is on sale for $409.99

This does not replace my flatbed scanner or my beloved Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. They are different tools for different purposes.

November 11, 2013

November 10, 2013

An Ancestral Tragedy - Losing a Wife and 4 Children in 7 Years

Yesterday I read a blog post on Grave Mistakes called In less than 2 weeks Margaret Hughes lost quads, twins and her husband.

It got me thinking about the tragedies in my own ancestors' lives. One of the first sad events I uncovered as a genealogist many years ago was the story of great grand uncle Thomas William King.

Thomas was born in 1841 in what was the wilderness of Puslinch Township in Wellington County Ontario. At the age of 25 he married Mary Ann Kemble. Two daughters were soon born to the young couple. The first born was Catherine born April 1865. Next came her little sister Mary Ann born October 11, 1869.

Tragedy struck when a few days after Mary Ann's birth, 25 year old Mary Ann Kemble died. One year later, the widower Thomas faced yet another blow when 5 year old Catherine died on December 9, 1870. Just 4 days later her little 1 year old sister Mary Ann also died. In the space of one year Thomas lost his wife and both children.

An Ancestral Tragedy - Losing a Wife and 4 Children in 7 Years
The family was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Arkell Ontario. The double tombstone of the little sisters reads

Mary Ann died Dec. 13, 1870 age 1 year, 2 months, 2 days
Catherine died Dec. 9, 1870 age 5 years 7 months 16 days
Children of Thomas W. and Mary A. King

Their death registrations showed both young girls died of Diptheria.

It was not long before Thomas remarried. His next wife was Mary Ann Ramsey and they were married in December 1871 almost one year to the day of his daughter's tragic death. Their first born was a boy who they named Joseph. Joseph was born in December 1872 but sadly in October 1873 at the age of 10 months he died of pneumonia.

Baby Joseph's tombstone in Arkell Cemetery reads

Joseph, son of Thomas W. and Mary A. King died Oct. 2, 1873 age 11 months, 9 days

Death was not yet finished with Thomas. Three years after Joseph died a daughter Mary was born. There may have been other children in between but if so they died young. Little Mary was born in March 1876 but did not live long. In October of that year at the age of 7 months she too passed away.

Her tombstone reads "Our Darling Mary died Oct. 12, 1876 age 7 months, daughter of Thomas W and Mary A. King. Sleep on my Mary in calm repose, though parted for awhile, To _ _ _ _ _ on _ _ _ will join praise And grace your happy smile"

In the space of 7 years Thomas lost his wife and four children. Thomas had more children and went on to marry for a third time in 1904 after Mary Ann Ramsey died. Only 2 daughters survived to adulthood.

November 9, 2013

Fold3 Honor Wall for Military Ancestors

Fold3 now has an Honor Wall where you can pay tribute to a military ancestor. It's a very nice way to honor those who fought for our freedom.

Why not take a moment to visit and create a tribute or add to an existing memorial.

Search Civil Military - Fold3

November 8, 2013

Internet Archive Scanning Center Fire — Please Help Rebuild

Internet Archive Scanning Center Fire — Please Help RebuildInternet Archive suffered a major setback this morning when a fire broke out at its San Francisco office,  causing an estimated $600,000 in damages. The good news is that no one was hurt and no data was lost. Some physical materials were in the scanning center and were lost.

As their blog post states "This episode has reminded us that digitizing and making copies are good strategies for both access and preservation. "

The Archives, which includes the wonderful Wayback Machine, will need to repair or rebuild the scanning building. 

Here is how you can help
  • Funding.   Your donations will help  rebuild the scanning capabilities in books, microfilm, and movies.
  • Scanning.  The employees affected by the fire will need continued digitization work at an alternate location while they recover.

November 7, 2013

Free Access to Canadian Military Records Nov 7-12

Free Access to Canadian Military Records Nov 7-12
Uncle Ern Simpson WW1 to offer free online access to historic military records to help Canadians discover their military ancestors for the first time
Many Canadians unaware of ancestors who fought in First or Second World War

TORONTO (November 6, 2013) – In honour of Remembrance Day,, Canada’s leading family history website, is giving Canadians the chance to discover the military hero in their family by providing free access from November 7 to 12 to more than 4.4 million online military records from some of its most popular collections, some of which are available free for the first time.

Each Remembrance Day, many Canadians remember the sacrifices and bravery of those who served their country in times of battle, especially those with ancestors and family who fought in wars past and present. Surprisingly, a large number of Canadians don’t know if they have anyone in their family to remember at this time. According to a recent national online survey, almost one-third of Canadians do not know if any of their ancestors fought in either the First or Second World Wars.

“For Canadians, Remembrance Day marks a time of reflection about the soldiers who fought, and in many cases died, for their country. Unfortunately too many of us don’t even know who these people are,” says Lesley Anderson, a genealogist and Content Specialist at “We are thus happy and proud to be able to provide Canadians the chance to look into their past to discover whether their ancestors were among the many that fought in the great wars that defined our nation. It is our pleasure to share these collections in the hope that Canadians will discover more details about their ancestors and the lives they lived.” 

The military records free to view cover the First and Second World War, the Rebellion of 1837 and the War of 1812. They highlight the everyday lives of soldiers who served their country, some even before they had a country to fight for. The records include military awards, service records and information on pay, which will provide Canadians with a greater understanding of the men and women who fought in the conflicts. Men like Frank Brown.

The story of Frank Brown
Frank Brown was born on December 18, 1893 in Waterford, Ontario. A prolific writer of poetry, he had two wishes near the start of the First World War; first, to join his comrades in battle and second, to have his poems published. Both of his wishes were granted, but sadly he only lived to see one fulfilled.

After enlisting and joining his fellow troops in England, the well-liked Brown soon won an early promotion to Sergeant thanks to his sharpshooting skills. Shortly after, his first wish was granted when, on February 3, 1915, he joined Captain Talbot M. Papineau and the Third Company of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in the trenches in France.

During his first day, the soldier-poet fired approximately 80 rounds, estimated to be as much as the rest of his company put together. Now being known to the Germans as a great shot, it is suspected that he drew the attention of German sharpshooters, and at about 3:30 p.m. that afternoon Sergeant Frank Brown was struck in the head. He died instantly and with no pain.

His second wish was granted soon after his death. Brown’s sincere, strong and musical poems were published in a book titled Contingent Ditties and Other Soldier Songs of the Great War, by Frank Brown.   

The story of Sergeant Frank Brown is an example of some of the stories that are waiting to be discovered on, and for the 54 per cent of Canadians that claim to have an ancestor that fought in the First or Second World War, these records can provide vivid details into their lives as soldiers. For the 30 per cent of Canadians that do not know if they have an ancestor in the military, these records can bring that history to light.  

Uncle Clare McGinnis WW2
The collections that will be offered for free from November 7th to 12th include the following:

Canada, Military Honours and Award Citation Cards, 1900-1961, containing almost 70,000 records documenting awards and honours received by Canadian service personnel, both men and women. Some records include valuable and rare information on the soldiers’ next of kin, a physical description, their home address and an account of the meritorious action. 

Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1857-1922, contains more than 1.6 million records that provide detailed information about a soldier’s everyday life, including payroll. The records also include travelling expenses, battalion or regiment, rank, pay for the use of a horse and signature of the member for received pay. These small details can help paint a richer picture of the day-to-day routine of Canada’s servicemen and women.

Canada, War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Casualty, 1914-1948, contains almost 30,000 records of military burial documents from Canada, as well as casualty records from the U.S., prisoners of war and members of the Australian Air Force, Polish Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919, contains over 56,000 records from the War Grave Registers for service personnel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) who died during the First World War in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. These registers were used to record the final resting place of the soldier, nurse or other individual, and to record the notification of the next of kin.

Canadians looking for information about their ancestors, or for those who want to start their family tree for free can visit