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April 30, 2014

Press Release: Quaker Records on Ancestry

Press Release: Quaker Records on Ancestry
New Quaker Records on Tell the Stories of Our Nation's "Friends" -- The Unsung Leaders of Equality and Peace
Documents Spanning Over 300 Years Give Insight to the Presence and Influence of Quakers in American History
PROVO, UT--(Marketwired - Apr 28, 2014) - today released 11.5 million new records documenting one of the most prominent groups in American history, the "Religious Society of Friends," more commonly known as Quakers. Spanning over 300 years (late 1600s - late 1900s), the collection includes birth, marriage, death, disownment, and memorial records, sourced from the Quaker's monthly meeting minutes. 

Quakers have played a key role in American history and society since the country's earliest days. There are currently more than 85,000 Quakers living in the United States and 350,000 worldwide, but it is estimated that in the 1700s, 50 percent of all people living in the Mid-Atlantic States were Quaker. has collaborated with a variety of institutions to compile a robust online documentation of the Quakers' history. With the help of American Quaker colleges Earlham, Haverford, Swarthmore and Guilford, and The National Archives in England, estimates that it now has more than 75 percent of all the American Quaker records in existence. 

"I was raised in the Quaker religion, attended Quaker schools, and was married in a Quaker wedding ceremony. I feel a deep commitment to spreading awareness of their culture, beliefs and powerful influence in history," said Lisa Parry Arnold, a professional genealogist, author and lecturer at "These new collections will help people who are researching their family history discover or learn more about their own Quaker heritage." 
According to Arnold, Quakers tracked the activities of their members through their monthly business meetings. Detailed meeting minutes are part of the collection now available on, and can provide important information for those researching their family history, including names, dates, and relationships to fellow "Friends." Monthly meetings also kept track of where members came from and their destinations when they chose to move to another colony, state or province -- a real boon for those tracing their ancestors' footsteps.

April 29, 2014

What Are Your Top 5 Genealogy Websites?

What Are Your Top 5 Genealogy Websites?
What are the top 5 websites you use most often for genealogy? This was a question posed by a friend on Facebook  and I thought the responses were very interesting. They also gave me some leads on new avenues of research. So here is the question repeated and I hope my readers will comment with their top 5. The sites can be free or pay-to-view.

Here are my top 5: I use it daily for American, Canadian and British research and would be lost without it.
FamilySearch - for International databases
British Newspaper Archive for my British ancestry
Library and Archives Canada for Canadian databases
Trove (National Library of Australia) for Australian & British ancestors

It was difficult to narrow my top sites to 5 as I have about a dozen that I use frequently (meaning at least once a week).  They include,, (yep I snuck my own site in this list but I do use it frequently),, and others.

Credit: "Top Rated Stamp" by Stuart Miles on

April 28, 2014

Long Lost Love Letters Found & Returned to Descendants

Long Lost Love Letters Found & Returned to Descendants
This is one of those feel-good stories we all love. And wouldn't we all love to find such a treasure? Joshua McKinney, of Casnovia, Michigan, was removing old insulation in his home's attic when he found a stack of old love letters from World War II.

The letters and certificates (birth and marriage) he found all concerned the Kissel family. It didn't take long for Joshua and his sister to track down descendants and soon the granddaughter of the man who wrote the love letters contacted Joshua and retrieved all the  letters and documents.

Continue reading at Stranger Discovers Long-Lost Love Letters in Attic, But Story Doesn't End There

April 27, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 17: One Ringy Dingy Two Ringy Dingy

Sharing Memories Week 17: One Ringy Dingy Two Ringy Dingy
Sharing Memories is a series of weekly prompts to help all genealogists (including me!) with writing up memories of our ancestors and our childhood. 

We all love to find a diary or letters written by great grandma or grandpa where they talk about their lives and share their memories. Think how excited one of your descendants will be to read about your memories and your stories! These stories will be lost after a few generations unless we preserve them. And what better way than in a weekly themed post. 

This week's prompt is Telephones! That's right. Telephones and their use have changed greatly over the years. What kind of phone did you have in your home as a child? Did you have one phone in every room? Did you have to dial through the operator or did you have a rotary dial phone? Remember party lines? Maybe your family had one of those. 

We had one rotary dial phone in our kitchen. We kids didn't use it to call friends and chat. If we wanted to get together with a friend, we walked to their house and knocked on their door. Phones were for serious things - emergencies for the most part. 

Every Christmas my Grandmother would come to our home and my mom and dad would have a pre-arranged phone call to England so she could talk to her sister. Yep - pre-arranged. You couldn't just pick up the phone and dial England! You had to get the operator to set it all up ahead of time then you waited. The operator would ring you when your call was ready. I remember the excitement and anticipation of waiting in the living room while Grandma waited anxiously in the kitchen for the phone to ring. We all thought it was quite amazing that someone in Canada could talk to someone in England.

It's so different now isnt' it? Click open Skype on your computer and have a video call with someone anywhere in the world. Text or Vox user Voxer PPT pretty much anywhere in the world on your cell phone. I love technology!

April 26, 2014

DNA Kit Special Ends Tomorrow

Great news! Ancestry is having a sale on their DNA kits. Right now you can get a kit for $79.00 (save $20.00) and have it shipped for free. Just use this link to the home page of and use Code FREESHIPDNA

The special of $79.00 ends tomorrow April 27th so be sure to get this while it's available. Free Shipping is good until March 31, 2015 but the sale is over tomorrow. 

April 25, 2014

52 Ancestors: Found Details re Great-Grandpa Peer Attacked By Axe-Wielding Neighbour in 1895

52 Ancestors: Found Details re Great-Grandpa Peer Attacked By Axe-Wielding Neighbour in 1895
Windsor Evening Record (Windsor, ON), 28 May 1895
Look what a very kind reader (Marsha W.) found for me! This is the story of what happened to my great-grandfather Stephen Peer the day he was attacked by an axe-wielding neighbour.

Marsha read my story Sometimes the Best Find Comes When You Least Expect it! which had a brief condensed published version of Stephen Peer and Walter Hyde, then she found this more detailed version in a different newspaper.

So now I have to wonder why on earth Great-Grandpa would not let Mr. Hyde pump water from the well. I'm guessing there was some kind of long-standing feud but it still seems extreme.

Now I want to find out how long Great-grandpa was hospitalized and whether or not Walter Hyde went to jail.

Contrary to the article title "Murder May Result From a Neighbour's Quarrel in Guelph" my great-grandfather lived another two years. But he must have been quite seriously injured in this attack for such a headline. 

Bellevue Hospital Ambulance, New York 1895
Another thing that interested me was the mention of Stephen being taken to the Hospital in an ambulance. This was 1895 and I'm wondering what an ambulance consisted of - a horse drawn covered wagon like this one in New York City in 1895?

Now I'm curious about ambulances and what each community used in various decades. I think an email to the Guelph Civic Museum is in order. Perhaps they have some information or photos.

April 24, 2014

Sometimes the Best Find Comes When You Least Expect it!

About 25 years ago a woman I corresponded with about my PEER family in Guelph Ontario Canada told me an intriguing story. According to her she found a newspaper article about my great-grandfather Stephen Peer being attacked and killed by an axe-wielding neighbour. She didn't provide a date or any other details. No amount of pleading or coaxing on my part could get a source from her, not even the name of the newspaper. Stephen was not her ancestor and my Peer ancestry was of no interest to her so even my offers to share everything I had on the family held no interest.

So for 25 years I've tried to find this reference. Some time ago I found Stephen's death registration for 1897 but the cause of death was listed as Typhoid Fever not murder. Nonetheless I checked  Guelph newspapers for several months prior to his death just in case. But nothing turned up. These newspapers are not indexed so searching meant a long laborious read of every issue. Eventually I put this on the back burner as a curiousity, as a story that might have a little truth to it.

Searching Online Newspapers

Sometimes the Best Find Comes When You Least Expect it!
A few days ago while searching through some online Ontario newspapers as I do periodically, I came across this extract of a larger story.

It was published in The Lethbridge News (Alberta) on June 5, 1895 and was noted as a condensed story. I was pretty excited to find this but of course now I want the full story. Why was this pump so important? Who was Walter Hyde and his father? And why would an Alberta newspaper publish this?

Looking for Walter and the Full Story

A search of census records turned up some information on Walter Hyde. He was born ca 1874 to Alfred & Sarah (Farrow) Hyde. It struck me that Walter was quite a bit younger than my great-grandfather who was born ca 1853.  I don't know if Walter went to jail or any other details of this incident but am determined to find out.

Since getting to Guelph to hunt through the filmed newspapers is difficult for me I decided to hire the Guelph Public Library Research Services to look for any references to this event. Fingers crossed that I find out exactly what happened.  Of course if any of my readers live in Guelph Ontario and would be willing to have a look in the Guelph Mercury in first week of June 1895 for this story, please let me know!

The Moral of This Story

The moral of my story is NEVER GIVE UP! Okay I have two morals - never give up and never ever dismiss a "story" as untrue until you've found evidence to either prove or disprove it.

UPDATE: Full news article found! Read about what happened at 52 Ancestors: Found Details re Great-Grandpa Peer Attacked By Axe-Wielding Neighbour in 1895

April 23, 2014

Corrected List of Contents of H1150 Heir & Devisee Commission on

From H 1144 V58
Burford Christian BRADT
Canadiana.Org has digitized 21 films of the Heir & Devisee Commission Papers (Heir & Devisee Commission papers 1797-1854, found in their Heritage Collection), and that's a good thing for genealogists. These records have valuable and informative genealogical documents.

But as mentioned in a previous blog post I wrote called Heir & Devisee Commission 1797-1854 on - Listing Errors and a Workaround, the index and description of what is in each film, as provided on,  is incorrect.
I have been slowly going through each film and noting the correct contents in detail.  My first set of detailed listings of the contents of film H1133 can be viewed at No Response from so here are the Heir & Devisee Commission Film Details 

A complete and correct list of contents of film H1135 can be found on Olive Tree Genealogy website at Finding  Aid for Heir & Devisee Commission Online Films

Here is a corrected list of contents for film 1150.

Film H 1150 Does not contain what has listed as V. 87-89. This film contains V. 90-92
  • Vol.90 Image 17 Register of claims allowed arranged chronologically by district 1797-1804
  • Eastern District: Images 56-84; 97-98; 123-136; 176-184
  • Johnston District: Images 85-90; 99-101; 112-122; 187-198
  • Midland District: Images 19-55; 144-159; 169-175
  • Newcastle District: Images 137-138; 203-204
  • Home District: Images 95; 110-111; 162-168; 199-200; 205
  • Niagara District: Images 95; 106-109; 139-143; 160-161; 201-202
  • Western District: Images 96; 102-105
  • London District: Images 185-186
  • Vol. 91 Image 211 Index to claimants in Registers A, B, C, Vol 80-82
  • Vol. 92 Image 283 Index to claimants in Registers A-B Vol. 80, 81 
I have published the full set of corrections for the digitize records on Olive Tree Genealogy website at Heir & Devisee Commission This is a work in progress. 

April 22, 2014

The Poignant Story of a Lost Child on the Titantic

The Poignant Story of a Lost Child on the Titantic
RMS Titantic List of 1st Class Passengers Who Drowned - Allison Family UK, RMS Titanic, Deaths at Sea, 1912
A 2 year old child, thought to be lost when the Titanic sank, is at the crux of this story. Lorraine Allison and her parents were all reported as dead but only her father's body was ever recovered.

Years later a woman  named Helen Kramer came forward claiming to be Lorraine and stating she had been rescued but no one knew who she was. The Allisons were a wealthy Canadian family and refused to accept that Helen was Lorraine, believing it was a hoax to obtain money.

Helen  and her family waged a long war to be accepted by the Allison family. In the end DNA evidence revealed the truth - that she was not Lorraine. However the years of insisting she was indeed Lorraine resulted in a great deal of drama including restraining orders imposed by the Allison family.

The very intriguing and you can read more about it at Lost child of the Titanic and the fraud that haunted her family

This story intrigued me so I did a little research on the family. Hudson Allison, Lorraine's father is found in the 1901 census living in Chesterville Ontario, which happens to be where the Allison family burial ground is located. Hudson was born in 1881 in Winchester Township, Dundas County Ontario. His birth registration found on shows him given the name Hudson Joshua Creighton Allison by his parents  Jessie R. Allison and Phebe [sic] Johnston.

October 1909 saw the family of Hudson, wife Bessie and daughter Helen Lorraine sail from Montreal to England on board The Megantic. Hudson appears to have been a frequent traveler, no doubt for his business as he also appears on the passenger list for the Campania sailing from Liverpool England to New York in April 1911.
In fact the 1911 census for England shows him staying at the Carlton Hotel in London. He is listed as a 30 year old Financial Broker.

He also appears in the 1911 Census for Canada with his wife Bessie, 24, born in Wisconsin and his two children Lorraine 2 and baby Hudson 5 months old. Further research shows that his wife Bessie was born in Wisconsin to Arville and Sarah Daniels.

The Allison family memorial is found in Chesterille Ontario and shows that baby Hudson was rescued but died at the age of 18.

The Portland Press Herald printed a death notice for Hudson Trevor Allison on Friday August 9th 1929. It read:

"Ocean Park, Aug 8 -- Hudson Trevor Ellison [sic] age 18, of Westmount, P.Q, who had been passing a vacation with his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Hudson Ellsion[sic] on Seaside Avenue, died Thursday after a short illness as the result of ptomaine poisoning. The body was taken during the day to Chesterville, P.Q for burial."

Photo of Allison Family Memorial by Shirley Hacket on Find-A-Grave published as permitted by photographer

April 21, 2014

Found Easter Bunny on Twitter!

Found Easter Bunny on Twitter!
Those who followed my blog post on the weekend Easter Bunny Returns With His Family Tree
know that I had hear rumours that E.B. was on Twitter. Well I'm happy to say I found him yesterday! His Twitter handle is @IamEasterBunny if you want to see what he's been up to.

I read his tweets (See below for images) and it looks like he's hot on the bunny trail of a few of his brick walls. Plus he announced yesterday that he's been chosen as a Celebrity Bunny on the next season of the TV show "Hop to Find Out Who You Think You Are" Wow I can't wait to watch that episode!

April 20, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 16: Grades 10 & 11

Sharing Memories  Week 16: Grades 10 & 11
Sharing Memories is a series of weekly prompts to help all genealogists (including me!) with writing up memories of our ancestors and our childhood. 

We all love to find a diary or letters written by great grandma or grandpa where they talk about their lives and share their memories. Think how excited one of your descendants will be to read about your memories and your stories! These stories will be lost after a few generations unless we preserve them. And what better way than in a weekly themed post. 

This week's prompt is Memories of Grades 10 and 11. I have no memory of Grade 10. None. My theory of this blank spot in my memory is that it's due to my dad's sudden death on Christmas Day of Grade 9. Because it's as if Grade 10 didn't exist for me. 

Grade 11 is a bit of a blur but I remember having to get up in front of my class and read an essay I'd written. I was shaking so badly I could hardly see the words on the papers in my hand! I think my teacher thought I was going to burst into tears because he didn't make me finish reading it. 

I was pretty shy back then and didn't really fit in with the rest of the kids, both socially, economically and in fashion. But no one every picked on me or bullied me. In fact I experienced the opposite - the other kids looked out for me and were very kind to me always. I had tons of friends which doesn't really fit either with my shyness and the horrible clothes I had to wear and where I lived in town. You'd expect me to be ignored or ostracized given the circumstances. But I wasn't and in fact I actually got invited to a few parties in the "new area" of town. 

When I was a teenager the old and new area kids did not mix as a general rule. But the majority of my friends were new area kids and we all hung out at my house constantly. That was one unwritten rule the new area kids never broke - I was never invited to their homes except for the occasional party.

Bottom line was that I loved school and I had tons of friends so in that area of my life I was very happy.  What are your memories of those High School years?

April 19, 2014

52 Ancestors: Ots-Toch, the Mohawk Wife of Cornelis Van Slyke

I'm writing about my Mohawk ancestor Ots-Toch as part of Amy Crow's Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks . Ots-Toch was my 9th great-grandmother and I've written about her in my book on the Van Slyke family of New Netherland (New York).

After researching her extensively, I was able to obtain my Metis status in Ontario. Luckily she is written about in contemporary records and thus proving my Native American heritage was possible.

In 2009 I submitted DNA kits to different companies for both myself, my brother and my son. Our Native American ancestry was confirmed through DNA which was like icing on the cake.

My book The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelise Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk Wife Ots-Toch, including the story of Jacques Hertel, 1603-1651, Father of Ots-Toch and Interpreter to Samuel de Champlain REVISED EDITION was published May 2010 and is out of print.

However a 3rd edition is now available. It contains 30+ years of research.  "New Netherland Settlers Van Slyke Family: Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke 1604-1676 & his French-Mohawk Wife Ots-Toch" 366 pages, over 1200 footnotes available on Amazon

Caveat: In the theories of Ots-Toch's heritage, please take the use of the word "princess" with a grain of salt. It was common for 19th century writings to romanticize Native American women in particular, assigning daughter of a chief status to them.

There are two prevalent theories of Ots-Toch's heritage,
one that she was a full-blooded Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, the daughter of a Mohawk chief or Sachem. [FN 1] The second theory is that Ots-Toch was the daughter of a French man Jacques Hertel and a full-blooded Mohawk Princess.

Ots-Toch was in fact fathered by Jacques Hertel, a French interpretor to Samuel de Champlain. It is not known who her Mohawk mother was.

There were many original records pertaining to Ots-Toch. As an example here is one given in my book as found in land records of 1713 for Harmen Van Slyke, grandson of Ots-Toch.

Harmen was a Captain in a Schenectady Company in 1714 and an Indian trader in 1724. He received a grant of 300 morgens of land at Canajoharie NY from the Mohawks because

     "his grandmother was a right Mohawk woman" and "his father born with us at Canajoharie".

His father was Jacques Cornelise, son of Ots-Toch, the half French, half Mohawk woman who married Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke.

The deed was conveyed 12 Jan. 1713 and consisting of 2000 acres, stated:

    "in consideration of ye love, good will and affection which we do bear toward our loving cozen and friend Capt. Harmon Van Slyke of Schenectady, aforesaid, whose grandmother was a right Mohawk squaw and his father born with us in the above said Kanajoree [Canajoharie] being his the said Harmen Van Slyke's by right of inheritance from his father"

 Little is known of the wife of Cornelis Van Slyke although she was written of by the Dutch minister Jasper Dankaerts when he visited Schenectady and spoke with her son Jacques and daughter Hilletie.

Her name, Ots-Toch, is clouded in controversy, with some writing it as Alstock. One word in the Mohawk language which may provide a clue to her name is "Otsihsto" meaning "the stars". "Otsihsto" is pronounced so that the sound is similar to "Asistock". It must be remembered that her name was recorded phonetically from verbal accounts and it is possible that Otsihsto is the correct interpretation of Ots-Toch's name. 

    It is important that descendants understand that in my book I have chosen to use the name Ots-Toch as that has come down through history. Included in the book is my chapter discussing the loss of her through time and why I chose to use the name Ots-Toch to represent her.

    The use of the word "Princess" would imply that Ots-Toch's mother was the daughter of the Sachem or chief of her tribe but I have found NO evidence to support this romantic version of her parentage.

    According to Nelson Greene and other sources, Ots-Toch was "wild and savage like her mother". Ouida Blanthorn, in her genealogy of Cornelis Van Slyck and his descendants written 1973, states that Ots-Toch was a "half-French, half-Indian maiden of compelling grace and beauty, whose mother was a Mohawk princess [sic] and whose father, Jacques Hartell [sic] was a French trader."

Note: Greene and Blanthorn are not contemporary sources and as such must be treated cautiously as primary sources are sought to verify or disprove these statements.

April 18, 2014

Easter Bunny Returns With His Family Tree

Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found!

This was announced previously on Olive Tree Genealogy blog but I felt it was worth repeating!
Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found! 
Breaking news - yesterday a little girl named Alice was playing in the garden of an old house in England when she fell down a large rabbit hole. Before climbing out she made a unique discovery. In a small wooden box under a pile of rabbit fur hats Alice spotted a yellowed letter. The letter was addressed to "Dear Easter" and signed "Uncle Wiggily", and it provided details of an interesting family tree!

The complete letter has been transcribed below:

Dear Easter,
Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found!I'm glad you asked about your family. Time is getting short for me and I think I'm the only one left who knows the stories of our family.

Your great-grandfather, Bugs, was one of three brothers (Bugs, Peter and Brer). The brothers left their home and sailed for America in the late 1800s. The ship they were on was caught up in a terrible storm and the brothers had to tie themselves to the mast. The ship sank but Bugs, Peter and Brer were lucky enough to find a plank and they climbed up on it and drifted for several days until they were rescued by the SS Lollipop.

When they got to Ellis Island, the customs officials changed the brothers' last names before allowing them to leave the ship, and so the three branches of our family began.

Bugs, Your great-grandpa, kept his Bunny name. Peter's was changed to Cottontail and all his descendants have kept that name. Brer's name was changed to Rabbit and it is from his line that our famous cousins White and Velveteen descend.

Great grandpa Bugs later met and married your great-grandmother Bunny Fufu. I don't know anything about her parents. My cousin Willy Bunny has photos and her family bible but he is stingy with the family information and refuses to share. Apparently Bunny Fufu's family bible was tossed into a fire by Indians when they attacked the settlement where she and her parents lived, but Bunny's father leapt into the flames and saved the bible. I wish Willy would not be so secretive with the information!

It gets a bit confusing, but Velveteen Rabbit, your mother, was your father Energizer's second wife and his third cousin once removed. It wasn't unusual for cousins to marry each other, but it does get confusing as we all seem to have large families.

Velveteen's father (your maternal grandfather) was Peter but I don't know too much about your mom's side of the family. I did hear there was an Angora in there somewhere way back. Some say she was a Princess and Peter rescued her from pirates!

Of course you know your grandparents - Buster and Trix. One day you should ask your grandma Trix why she calls your grandpa Buster by his nickname "Hassenfeffer" whenever she is mad at him, it's a cute story.

I've done some research on our family but am stuck on your great-great-grandmother. That would be your Great-Grandpa Bugs' mother. Great-Grandpa Bugs' father (your great-great-grandpa) was named Cadbury but I think your great-great-grandma was left by aliens. She is my brick wall. I know Cadbury called her Flopsy and they had 54 children but even though I've searched everywhere, I can't find what her SIRname was.

I guess I should tell you about the family scandal involving your Great great grandpa Cadbury Bunny. My Aunt Babbity told me she heard the grownups whispering about this when she was little. It seems that Cadbury's father fell in love with a chicken and Cadbury was the result of that love match! This might explain Cadbury's strange behaviour....

Well Easter, I think I've given you enough details to confuse you, but I hope I've gotten you interested in learning more! I know where some of the graves are of your ancestors and will take you there one day if you want to go. It's just a hop, skip and jump away.

Give my best to all the little children when you make your rounds this year,

As ever,
Uncle Wiggily
Since that exciting discovery in 2009, Easter Bunny has found more genealogy goodies!  In 2010 Easter found a family tree chart! You can see it here

In 2011 Easter was delighted to discover a Family Bible that once belonged to his great-grandmother Bunny Fufu! He's been hunting ever since, tracking down leads on the Bunny Trail and exploring every nook and cranny he can find.

UPDATE! I have learned that Easter opened a Twitter account last year and I'm trying to ferret that out so I can publish his tweets here as an exclusive Olive Tree Genealogy blog post on Monday. 

April 17, 2014

New Genealogy & History Records on Heritage Website

New Genealogy & History Records on Heritage Website
This is an announcement from Library and Archives Canada:
The following is a list of digitized microfilms that have been recently added to the Héritage website. Please note that although the titles have been translated, the records are still in the language of origin.
  • Amherst Papers
  • Canada. Department of the Interior: Letters patent
  • Canadian Home Economics Association fonds
  • Department of Canadian Heritage, Canadian Parks Service: Park/subject classification system
  • Department of Indian Affairs, Edmonton Agency: General operational records
  • Department of Indian Affairs, Manitoba Regional Office: Central registry files
  • Dominion Lands Branch registry
  • France, Archives Nationales. Contrôle général des finances. Sous-série G7 [French National Archives fonds, finances records, sub-series G7]
  • Frank Wright fonds
  • Henry Elvins Spencer fonds
  • Henry Pringle fonds
  • Immigration Program: Headquarters central registry files
  • Indian and Inuit Affairs Program: Modified duplex numeric system
  • Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada: Courts martial records, 1914-1919
  • Parish registers: Manitoba
  • Registrar of Shipping New Carlisle [Quebec], 1856-1902, and Quebec City [Québec], 1787-1965
  • Radnik fonds
  • Roderick K. Finlayson fonds
  • Sir Henry James Warre fonds
  • William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth fonds
  • William Osgoode fonds
Credits: "Announcement Quote. Eps10" by 2nix on

April 16, 2014

Free Access to Civil War Records on Fold3

 Discover Your Ancestors on Fold3 To remember the commencement of the Civil War in April 1861, FOLD 3 invites you to explore all records in its Civil War Collection for free April 14–30.

Explore Civil War documents featuring everything from military records to personal accounts and historic writings. Soldier records include service records, pension index cards, “Widows’ Pension” files, Navy survivors certificates, Army registers, and much more. Other record types include photographs, original war maps, court investigations, slave records, and beyond. Items such as the Lincoln Assassination Papers, Sultana Disaster documents, letters to the Adjutant General and Commission Branch, and the 1860 census are also contained in the Civil War Collection.

Confederate-specific records include Confederate service records, amnesty papers, casualty reports, and citizens files, as well as Confederate Navy subject files and Southern Claims Commission documents.

Join Fold3 in its commemoration of the Civil War. Discover information on famous participants as well as your own Civil War ancestors through documents, photos, and images that capture the experiences and vital information of those involved in America’s deadliest conflict. Then commemorate your ancestors by creating or expanding memorial pages for them on Fold3’s Honor Wall 

April 15, 2014

More Fun With Evernote Genealogy Binders

More Fun With Evernote Genealogy Binders
Evernote Genealogy Binder for my son's Schulze ancestors
I'm discovering so many great tools using Evernote to create virtual Genealogy Binders.My first blog post on using Evernote can be found at Using Evernote to Make Virtual Binders for Genealogy Organization 

The latest trick I've found is an amazing time-saver and one I touched on briefly in my last blog post More Ways to Use Evernote to Create Virtual Genealogy Binders. Now I've fine-tuned this method and want to share it with you. It has saved me so much time and duplication. This is the method where instead of creating a new note in your Evernote Binder and methodically importing one file at a time by using the FILES>ATTACH FILES command in Evernote, you accomplish this in a different more efficient way by importing files as batches directly from your computer drive. 

First step is to make sure your computer files are named correctly. I've discovered that if you name your genealogy file (either image or document) with the exact name you want to use as the Title of your note in an Evernote Binder, this file name is imported as the Title of the note. So if you import a file named "jacobdewhirst1820baptism.jpg" the title will be automatically inserted as "jacobdewhirst1820baptism" 

Instead of having to rename it in the note to "Dewhirst Jacob 1820 baptism Yorkshire England", make sure your file on your computer hard drive has the name you want in the Evernote note so that you do not have to redo anything.

Previously I titled my notes in my virtual Genealogy Binders with the year then the person's name then a description. But since Evernote limits how many Binders you can create,I soon realized I needed to put all the siblings of my direct ancestors in the same binder. I can't create one binder for each person. So I needed to rename my notes with the surname then the first name then the year, followed by the description. That way each individual's notes will be grouped together and in chronological arrangement.

It is easy for me to make sure my computer files follow this format. For example as I am searching on and saving various records for Jacob Dewhirst and family, I rename each file as it is downloaded. The 1841 census for Jacob gets the name "Dewhirst Jacob 1841 Census Yorkshire England" His baptism record gets the file name "Dewhirst Jacob 1820 Baptism Yorkshire England" 

Adding files in batches to Evernote
The next time-saving step is to go to my computer folder where the files are for Jacob Dewhirst. I can highlight them all, right click and choose "ADD TO EVERNOTE". Every file I've highlighted pops into my default notebook in Evernote. 

Now it is very easy to open that default notebook, highlight  all the newly imported files (they will all be together because of how I named them), right click and choose "MOVE TO NOTEBOOK Schulze Genealogy" 

Files added in batches to my default notebook
then moving them to Schulze Genealogy notebook/binder
Every image and document I imported is now very nicely in place in the correct notebook and best of all it is already titled and has been arranged automatically by Evernote in the binder. 

The other tip I have for you is to put quotation marks around the title you give your default notebook in Evernote. That will pop it to the top of the alphabetical list of your notebooks and this is very handy when you want to open that notebook to move your recently imported files.

April 14, 2014

Civil War Photos Found in Vermont Attic

Civil War Photos Found in Vermont Attic
Representation of a Civil War photo
This is a fascinating story of an amazing find in an attic. Hundreds of photos from the Civil War were found in a house belonging to one of the descendants of Alfred Waud, the Civil War artist.

They were purchased by one man who carefully inventoried each photograph and stored them in archival sleeves. In the end the collection consisted of over 500 albumen prints from the Civil War and the American west.

Read the story at My Photo Archiving Find Of A Lifetime How I Found Hundreds Of Civil War And Old West Photos In An Attic In Vermont

April 13, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 15: A Special Song

Sharing Memories Week 15: A Special Song
Sharing Memories is a series of weekly prompts to help all genealogists (including me!) with writing up memories of our ancestors and our childhood. 

We all love to find a diary or letters written by great grandma or grandpa where they talk about their lives and share their memories. Think how excited one of your descendants will be to read about your memories and your stories! These stories will be lost after a few generations unless we preserve them. And what better way than in a weekly themed post. 

This week's prompt is "A Special Song", a song you loved as a teenager. What music was popular when you were young? What did your parents listen to? What bands or groups did you ooh and aww over? 

We didn't have a radio or record player until I was about 9 or 10 years old as my mother always wrinkled her nose in disgust when she heard music and would emphatically state to anyone who would listen, "I hate music!" After my father bought a player, he got several 33LP records (remember those?) of musical show such as Oklahoma and South Pacific. I soon learned all the songs and my favourite was "Happy Talk" from South Pacific. Dad also had lots of Irish crooners and an album by George Formby which he listened to constantly. I loved the song on that album "Does your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavour.."

When I was 10 I chose to have my own record player rather than the bicycle which was tradition in our family. At the age of 10 each of my siblings got a bike but I wanted to be able to listen to music. My mother was shocked but she begrudgingly went along with my choice. I was so thrilled when my little plastic record player with plastic records arrived!
My bedroom became my haven and I'd sit and play my records over and over. 

I was a teen in the 60s so of course The Beatles were a huge impact then! But I have to be honest and say I preferred The Rolling Stones.When I was a young teen I started off listening to folk music - Ian and Sylvia, The Mamas and Papas,  and other similar groups but it didn't take long before I was heavily into The Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Animals, The Doors and other "edgier" groups.  

I still love music and even though I'm a "senior" I try to keep up with what's new and what's happening in the music world. The gals where I get my hair done chuckle over my iTunes songs in my playlist as it's quite a mixture of songs by such artists as  Shinedown, One Republic, Dashboard Confessional, Adele, Ed Kowalczyk, Pit Bull, Walk off the Earth, Flo Rida, Hedley, Hawksley Workman, The Killers, Jazmine Sullivan, Lady GaGa, Elton John, Maroon 5, Mary J. Blige, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Santana, Shawn Mullins, Sting, TIna Turner, Sublime, Velvet Revolver, Melissa Etheridge, Green Day and many more. 

Credits: "Music Card" by digitalart at

April 12, 2014

The Heartbleed Bug - Time to Change Your Passwords

The Heartbleed Bug - Time to Change Your Passwords
Unless you've been living under a rock you have no doubt heard about the Heartbleed Bug. Basically it's a bug (a glitch) in the encryption used by many big companies such as Facebook and Dropbox. No doubt you do use some of the companies who may have been afffected or at risk. That means we all need to change our passwords once a site has given the thumbs up that they've patched the security risk.

To make your life easier, here is a link to  Mashable's list of sites that have recommended user passwords be changed. It is updated daily so check it often to see if new sites have been added. If you do not live in the United States you won't find the list of banks and government sites much help. 

For those you will have to visit your country's specific bank and government agency sites to see if you need to take precautions.

When you go to change your password, please create a strong password. It should be a mix of characters, numbers and letters and it should be random. Don't use your pet's name or your child's date of birth. Don't use your mother's maiden name. Don't use a recognizable sentence or phrase such as "thecheshirecat"  or "thequickbrownfoxjumpedoverthelazydog" Even changing some of the letters such as a and e to characters is useless against the amazing fast tools hackers have to crack passwords. 

Here's a list of the top 500 worst passwords. Make sure your password isn't on this list! 

And please do not use the "trick" of creating a base password and altering it slightly for different websites. That's not a good idea even though many are touting it as a way to remember all the passwords we need to keep. Because of course you are not using the same password for every site, are you? I hope not! You must have a unique password for each site or you are at risk. If you use one password for all, and then Site A is hacked the hacker now has access to all sites you frequent. 

If like me you have dozens of passwords for all the services you use, you must either use a password Manager  such as Dashlane or LastPass, or you must write them down and keep them in a secure (preferably locked) spot in your home.  Obviously I can't share specific secrets with you of the ways I manage or store my passwords but I can tell you that for the dozen passwords I must take with me on the road, I use a code to disguise the actual password. In other words, the password is there but the name of the site to which it refers is not noted in any way a person would understand. As well the actual password is coded so that only I know what certain letters and characters mean. Some mean I remove them from the password. Some mean I capitalize the letter. Some mean I substitute a specific character. 

Yep I know, it sounds like a spy novel. But my motto is "Better Safe than Sorry". With all the hacking going on these days and with the incredibly fast ways hackers have to break passwords, I take no chances. 

Don't wait. Change your passwords when each site has fixed or patched the security flaw.

April 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: It's All in the Name

52 Ancestors: It's All in the Name
1837 document from Storm starting he is known as
both Vollick and Follick in his neighbourhood
My 5th great-grandfather Isaac Vollick, born 1732 in Schoharie, New York, was a United Empire Loyalist who came to Upper Canada from the United States during the American Revolution. He was the illegitimate son and only child of Isaac VanValkenburg and Maria Bradt.

It is through Isaac the Loyalist that Follick and Vollick descendants claim their Mohawk heritage. Isaac's great-great-grandmother was Ots-Toch a half French, half Mohawk woman who married Cornelis Van Slyke a Dutchman who settled in Albany New York in 1627

Although no record of a marriage has been found for Isaac and Maria, their son Isaac used his father's surname until 1782. During his years as a private in Butler's Rangers, Isaac's surname changed from Van Valkenburg, meaning in Dutch, 'from the castle of the falcons' (van=from; valken=falcons; burgh=castle), to Valk or Valck which means 'falcon'. It appears that Valk was his nickname and on being recorded by English clerks, a vowel was inserted between the final 'l' and 'k' making the surname Valic or Volick. Over the years, the surname was written as Vollick, Volic, Valic, Valck, Valk, Volk and Follick (the German/Dutch accent making a 'v' sound like 'f' to English ears).

My line, descended from his son Cornelius, took the Vollick surname. His son Storm used the Follick surname. In the next generation some Follick descendants used Vollick while some Vollick descendants used Follick.  It makes it interesting trying to research all branches of this family!

April 10, 2014

Evidence of St. Louis French Colonial Log Home Found

Evidence of St. Louis French Colonial Log Home Found
Evidence of a French colonial home in St. Louis was found beneath layers of concrete and bricks during digging by the Department of Transportation.  It is the first trace of  Colonial St. Louis, Missouri which was thought to be completely destroyed by later building. 

Archealogists and historians have confirmed that the house which was constructed of vertical logs rather than horizontal, was built in 1769 by Joseph Bouchard, then later owned by Philip Riviére.

The history of the early settlement of St. Louis is a fascinating story. It began as a fur trading post in 1764 so this newly excavated log home is one of the very earliest. 

Credit: Image from Northern Illinois Libraries Digitization Projects

April 9, 2014

One Man in England Saves 5000 WW1 Photos from Being Destroyed

One Man in England Saves 5000 WW1 Photos frrom Being Destroyed
Screen Dump from BBC News Sussex website
This is a fascinating story about an ordinary man in England who took it on himself to save and preserve WW1 photos, cards, letters and other objects from the dump. 

Bob Smethurst worked at collecting garbage for decades. In the early days there were garbage pails that had to be dumped into the trucks. As  these pails were dumped, papers and photos were easily spotted. Not wanting some of the lovely photos of soldiers and WW1 postcards he saw to be lost forever, Smethurst began saving them. Little did he know that he would end up with over 5000 photographs and letters, some of them very rare.

Mr. Smethurst defines himself as a custodian of these documents and is making plans on what should happen to the collection. 

This is a fascinating story and how I would love to visit Mr. Smethurst and look through is amazing collection.

For more details and photos see Revealed: Extraordinary collection of 5,000 WWI photographs salvaged from RUBBISH DUMPS by a former dustman and Sussex dustman saved rare WW1 photographs

April 8, 2014

DAR Accepting DNA as Evidence of Descent From Revolutionary War Ancestor

DAR Accepting DNA as Evidence of Descent From Revolutionary War Ancestor
Good news for those seeking to prove an ancestor for admittance to DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). Keeping up with the times, DAR now accepts DNA as evidence to support a claim of descent from a Patriot ancestor. 

Quoting from their DAR website

"The DAR accepts Y-DNA evidence in support of new member applications and supplemental applications. Y-DNA evidence submitted along with other documentation will be considered along with all of the other source documentation provided to prove heritage. Y-DNA will not be considered as stand-alone proof of lineage because while it can be used as a tool point to a family, it cannot be used as absolute proof for an individual."
Full details of criteria can be found at the DAR website above. 

April 7, 2014

More Ways to Use Evernote to Create Virtual Genealogy Binders

Ready to send files from Frank Simpson folder on my computer
As a followup to my last post on using Evernote to create virtual Genealogy Binders I have continued playing with organizing my genealogy files using Evernote. There are a few more features I've discovered along the way which I want to share with my readers.

First, a caveat - be careful using the "Merge" feature! Once you merge notes, this action cannot be undone. Supposedly you can retrieve the original notes from your Trash and restore them to Evernote as individual notes but I am using a Mac and the notes I accidentally merged are not in my Trash.  

UPDATE! I found the trashed notes. They are not in the computer Trash bin but in the Evernote Trash. If you choose to view all notebooks, the Trash bin is displayed and opening it will show you the original notes. You can easily restore them to your binder or notebook so that you don't have to redo them.

Merging notes is something I do want to play with as I can choose PRINT in Evernote and then save the merged notes as a PDF file. That would allow me to more easily share or print the merged file for a hardcopy binder if I choose to do so.

Right click option to Send to Evernote
Next, a nice little feature I discovered this morning is a much easier way to insert notes into a binder (notebook). I have been creating a notebook (Frank Simpson) then within Evernote choosing the option "New Note in Frank Simpson". An empty note window opens and I then select "File>Attach Files" and search for whatever picture or document I wish to add. Then I give the new note a title and it's done.

The original notes restored and the merged notes still in the notebook/binder
This morning I found that I could do this in a different way. I open my Finder window (in a Windows computer that is the same as Explore) which shows all the folders and files on my computer. I go to where I know I have photos and docs for Frank Simpson. Yes I actually have some of my genealogy files organized so that I can choose a folder which contains all the documents and photos I have for an individual. 

Once I see the files for Frank I select the first one, right click and choose "Add to Evernote". The photo or document pops up in my default Evernote Notebook. It isn't in Frank's notebook but that's okay. I rename the note using the year as the first word in the title. I could also rename each note with surname then first name then description. Whatever I use as my renaming convention it needs to be consistent. 

I  continue sending all the photos and documents to Evernote. They are all in my default notebook. Now I make sure I am in that notebook and choose View>Expanded Card View. That pops up all the notes in that default notebook and because I have chosen alphabetical order for my notes, I can easily see all the notes I just added for Frank.

Next I highlight all the notes for Frank, right click and choose "Move to Notebook...." There is a small arrow which allows you to choose the notebook you want for those notes. I choose SIMPSON FRANK and bingo, all the notes I inserted from my hard drive are now in Frank's virtual binder. 

This method appeals to me as a more efficient way for me to put all my genealogy photos and documents into Evernote. Some of you might be asking "Who is this Frank Simpson?" Well he was my grandmother's younger brother. He came to Canada from England at the age of 15 to live with his older brother, but sadly died of appendicitis in Toronto in 1908 shortly before his 19th birthday. My grandmother often spoke of him and how much she missed him. I have the book he won at the age of 12 which is inscribed to him, and also the receipt for his funeral and burial plot so I feel very connected to him.