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July 31, 2014

Enter the WDYTYA Contest to Win A Trip & Research

Enter the WDYTYA Contest to Win A Trip & Research
Image from TLC
Last night's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC, sponsored by  was with Jesse Tyler Ferguson. It was terrific. Jesse found some startling information about his great-grandfather Jesse Wheat Uppercu, and if you watched last night's show you can enter the TLC contest

Answer a simple question about last night's episode and be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to your homeland and access to a personal genealogist provided by The contest is open to residents of U.S.A. and Canada (except Quebec) so why not give it a try?

Good luck!

July 30, 2014

Sneak Peek Tonight's Who Do You Think You Are? With Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Image courtesy of TLC
Are you as excited as I am for tonight's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? The new season premiere can be seen every Wednesday at 9/8c on TLC is a sponsor of this award winning genealogy series.
Here is today's sneak peek of tonight's Who Do You Think You Are? episode with Jesse Tyler Ferguson.  

In tonight's episode Jesse follows his great grandfather's trail to Alaska. He traces the path of the ambitious expedition on a boat trip up a river among snow-capped mountains and learns that his great grandfather's journey was an arduous one.

Be sure to watch Jesse's episode on TLC tonight , July 30 at 9/8c

July 29, 2014

Free DNA Kit Offer from Ancestry

Good news! If you were thinking of subscribing to, they are offering a Free DNA kit with 6-month subscription during the Who Do You Think You Are? broadcasts.

This is a $99 value. The genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? airs every Wednesday at 9/8c on TLC and with as a sponsor. 

July 28, 2014

Remembering WW1 Soldier W. J. P. Bullock

Remembering WW1 Soldier W. J. P. Bullock
One of the framed photos of CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) soldiers on our wall is labelled "Pte. W. J. P. Bullock" of Toronto Ontario. This young man enlisted on September 2, 1915, one year  after WW1 began in August 1914.

Research on found more details including his full name - William James Percival Bullock. William was born July 12, 1894 making him just 21 years old when he joined the CEF. His father was listed as Arthur Bullock. 

Young William was just 5'6" tall but that was a fairly normal height for the times. He is listed as having a fair complexion with brown hair and eyes. 

William Bullock War Graves Record
Sadly my research revealed that young William was killed almost one year to the day he enlisted. The War Graves Circumstances of Casualty shows him as being buried in Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery near Albert, France having died on 4 September 1916.

 According to the records, William was wounded at Pozieres, taken to South Midland Casualty Clearing Station but died of his wounds the following day. 

You can see his tombstone here. 

William is found in the 1911 Census for Toronto Ontario with his parents, Arthur and Elizabeth Bullock. He is one of 8 children.His father was born in England, his mother in Ireland.

William's older brother, Albert Latimer Bullock, also joined the CEF but he survived the war, returned home and married in 1923. His death occurred many years later in June 1965 in Toronto Ontario.  

William will be remembered in our home. 

July 27, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 30: Tattle Tales

Sharing Memories Week 30: Tattle Tales
Join us for Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey We focus on memories of our parents, grandparents and others. We write for our children and grandchildren, that the memories are not lost over time. I hope you are keeping a journal, whether it is private or public, and joining us as we write our memoirs.

The prompt for this week (Week 30) is Tattle Tales. What happened if you "told" on someone? If your sister hit you and you ran to Mom or Dad, what was the consequence? Record your stories before they are forgotten. As Judy G. Russell of the Legal Genealogist blog says, “Oral family history can be lost in three generations". This is your chance to record and preserve yours.

In my family we were not allowed to tattle. No matter what. My mother hated tattling and if you were foolish enough to run to tell on your brother or sister, *you* were the one who got in trouble. There was no line for "this is serious so it's okay to tell" and "this is a minor dispute". 

My older sister and I always did the dishes after supper, and she always took that opportunity to pinch and twist the skin on the inside of my elbow. It hurt like heck and I would cry.  My crying made my mother furious, I suppose because in her mind, it was pretty close to tattling on someone! 

She would refuse to listen if I tried to tell her what had happened. All she was concerned about was the noise and commotion in the kitchen. Since I was the one crying or yelling at my sister to stop, I was the one causing the problem in her eyes. 

My mother would yell out for me to stop all the noise. If that didn't work and she had to come into the kitchen, I was in trouble. The minute she'd leave, my sister would give what I considered an evil grin and immediately pinch and twist my skin again. I learned pretty fast to suffer the pain silently. 

And no, I did not carry on my mother's tradition with my own children! They could come to me with anything and I listened. I didn't always interfere as I wanted them to learn to handle their disputes if possible. But if there was hitting or pain involved, I put a stop to it. In my house the rule was "if you hit, you sit" meaning there was a time-out for anyone causing physical pain to someone else.

What was it like in your family? 

July 26, 2014

A Baker's Dozen of Favorite Genealogy Websites

A Baker's Dozen of Favorite Genealogy Websites
In 2012 I listed my personal favorites of Top 10 Genealogy websites. I've revised that list and created a baker's dozen of my most-used genealogy websites, in categories for Canadian, American and International research. 

Oh yeah, and there's an "Everything Category" too. There are many many other fantastic websites out there but I had to have a cut-off number so I chose the traditional "Baker's Dozen".

Everything Category

These websites have genealogy records for world-wide research

* - ($) pay site but my absolute #1. I visit several times daily in my search for Canadian, American and English ancestors.

* FamilySearch - (free) Lots of images and indexes world-wide. I probably only frequent it once a week. I confess that I find the search function not as friendly as it once was. I use it for my American and English ancestry

American Genealogy Research

* Olive Tree Genealogy (free) Yes I know it's my site. But it is my first stop for ships' passenger lists to USA,  New Netherland research and New York records (births, marriages, naturalizations, almshouse, orphans etc.) It's eclectic and has a mix of genealogy records.

* NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) (free) NARA has lots of goodies if you take the time to look around the site

* Fold3 - ($) pay site- So many military records you could get lost for a week!

Canadian Genealogy Research

* Library & Archives Canada (free) - dozens of free online databases for anyone with ancestors who lived in Canada. I use this site at least once a month.

* Olive Tree Genealogy (free) Yes I know I listed it in my American research category. But I  use it as my first stop to find ships' passenger lists to Canada and for Loyalist and land records in Ontario.

* The Ancestor Hunt (free) I use Kenneth R. Marks'  blog for listings of online Canadian Newspapers. They aren't always easy to find and this blog has a great listing of links

International Genealogy Research

* Free BMD - (free) Civil Registration Indexes. My mother's ancestry is solidly English so I use this site a lot (several times a month) to find ancestors in the index to Births, Deaths and Marriages after 1837.

* The British Newspaper Archive ($) I love this site for finding newspaper articles about my English ancestors. I use it about twice a month.

* The National Archives UK (free) Lots of online documents and very reasonably priced documents you can download instantly. I use this monthly for my English ancestors.

* Trove. (free) Another newspaper site (and more!) for Australia. I have found many newspaper records here for my Australian and English ancestors.

* Cora Web (free) If I want to know anything about ships passenger lists to Australia I head to Cora's site. I don't go that often but I know it's there when I need it.

Since I listed my own site twice, I am adding one more site to complete my Baker's Dozen. That is the wonderfully organized and huge list of links to every resource imaginable on Cyndi's List

July 25, 2014

Tennessee Family Bibles Online

Tennessee Family Bibles Online
Vance Family Bible page
Tennessee birth certificates were not required until 1908 and thus Family Bibles can be a very important way to prove birth dates.

The Tennessee State Public Library has been collecting more than 1,500 family Bibles since the 1920s and these bibles are now available to the public. Cinnamon Collins is the volunteer who scanned all the Bibles into the database. She scanned the pages with notations on them but also read and examined the materials tucked inside — photographs, locks of a sweetheart’s hair, newspaper clippings, mementos. All the entries she saw were handwritten and sometimes difficult to read.

Read more details at Tennessee has more than 1,500 family Bibles online and State Library & Archives Puts Family Bible Records Online

To see if TSLA holds a Bible record for your family, visit the project online. If you are looking for Family Bibles from other locations, please see Family Bibles Blog

July 24, 2014

Was Martha Guilty or Innocent? What's Your Verdict?

Guilty or Innocent? What's Your Verdict?
Warning: Spoiler Alert!

Last night was the Season Premiere of Who Do You Think You Are? last night at 9/8c on TLC and with as a sponsor. For those who watched, what do you think? Was Martha an abused wife and saw no other way out but to wield that axe? Or did she lie? In other words, what's your verdict - guilty or innocent?

Second question - any thoughts on who was the father of her baby born in prison? I was struck by how cruel this "Mrs. B" was towards her and the baby and of course that got my mind thinking about Mr. B....... Could he be the father and that be the reason Mrs. B. seemed almost determined to let the baby die and not offer Martha any comforts, not even clothes for the newborn? 

It was a very powerful episode and I liked how genuine Cynthia Nixon was throughout. It should get a lot of newcomers interested in finding out about their ancestors. 

Remembering WW1 Soldier Douglas McNabb

Remembering WW1 Soldier Douglas McNabb
Private Douglas McNabb's framed WW1 photograph hangs on our wall. We don't know Douglas and we are not related. But he is one of several CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) soldiers who we honour. 

His framed photo was probably taken before he left to go overseas. This was a common thing for young soldiers to do before departing. Eaton's Department Store and other places offered a lovely military background for these soldiers' photos. Sometimes framed photos were not ordered until a soldier had been killed. A mother would take her boy's photo and order the backdrop and frame to memorialize him.

Douglas' framed inscription reads

Pte. Douglas McNabb

177th Battalion CEF

Enlisted at Victoria Harbour Ontario Feb. 13, 1916

Simcoe Foresters

Research on found more details about Douglas and his service. His Attestation Papers reveal that he was born 14 Apr 1896 in Victoria Harbour (which co-incidentally is about 5 minutes from my home), his mother was Agnes and his full name was Douglas Burns McNabb. One of the witnesses to his papers was a Wallace Burns - possibly a relative.

20 year Douglas was listed as having a ruddy complexion, brown hair and brown eyes and tall - 5' 10" in height. He was assigned to the 177th Battalion. 

Birth records on reveal  his father as Alexander McNabb and his mother was Agnes Burns.  I was happy to see that young Douglas survived the war and is found on the 1921 census for Victoria Harbour with his parents and a younger brother John. Douglas' occupation is given as fireman. I also found him in the 1945 Voter's Lists for Victoria Harbour, still working as a fireman. There is no wife listed with him so perhaps he was a life-long bachelor. In any case he will be remembered in our home for his service.

July 23, 2014

A Sneak Peek at Tonight's Episode of WDYTYA!

A Sneak Peek at Tonight's Episode of WDYTYA!
WDYTYA image published with permission of TLC
Are you as excited as I am for tonight's  launch of Who Do You Think You Are? The new season premiere launches at 9/8c on TLC and with as a sponsor. 

In her episode, Cynthia Nixon searches for answers about her paternal ancestors, and discovers a dark secret involving deceit and murder, in relation to her great-great-great-grandmother. 

In tonight's episode she visits a prison to learn more about her ancestor, Martha, who was the only woman incarcerated there among dozens of men.

For those who can't wait here's a sneak peek of tonight's show featuring Cynthia Nixon

July 22, 2014

Looking for Descendants of Immigrants from Drenthe Netherlands

Looking for Descendants of Immigrants from Drenthe Netherlands
Immigrants Boarding a Ship for America
If your ancestor immigrated from the Drenthe Province of the Netherlands between 1847 and 1880 you may want to check out this project. Three young Dutch students currently in Holland Michigan are looking for descendants of approximately 67,000 Dutch immigrants to the U.S.A. in this time period.

A previously published book lists the names of all the individuals who emigrated from the Netherlands to the United States but it does not provide details on where the immigrants were heading.
Read more about the project called MyPlacebook at Dutch exchange students work on project linking Dutch descendants with the Netherlands

July 21, 2014

Remembering WW1 Soldier George Lynn

George Lynn's WW1 Helmet
George Lynn was born in August 1891 in Stayner Ontario Canada. His parents were William and Margaret (Hoar) Lynn. He enlisted in the CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) in June 1915. 

My husband and I own the helmet he wore while fighting overseas. It has the logo of the Machine Gun Corps he was in. Unfortunately it is very faint now and difficult to see.

George Lynn Attestation
Are you wondering why we have George's helmet? We also own a top-hat he wore for special occassions. Both were purchased many years ago from one of George's sons, who we know.

We didn't know George but we knew his wife Millicent. She was a War Bride who met and married George in England in December 1918, then came to Canada with other War Brides in February 1919 on the ship Metagama. 

George had returned home earlier in December 1918 on the hospital ship Araguaya.

The couple settled in Penetanguishene Ontario and raised 3 sons. Millicent was a lovely lady who always wore white gloves and reminded me of Helen Hayes. She was born Millicent May Reddish in Lancashire England to parents William and Emily (Moreland) Reddish. 

Having George's helmet helps us remember him and his service to our country.

July 20, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 29: Chores- What Kid Loves 'Em?

Sharing Memories Week 29: Chores- What Kid Loves 'Em?
"Housework" by AKARAKINGDOMS
Join us for Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey We focus on memories of our parents, grandparents and others. We write for our children and grandchildren, that the memories are not lost over time. I hope you are keeping a journal, whether it is private or public, and joining us as we write our memoirs.

The prompt for this week (Week 29) is Chores- What Kid Loves 'Em? 

Did your parents make you do chores as a kid? What jobs were yours? Did you get an allowance for doing jobs around the house? Did your Mom and Dad run the house in a traditional fashion with boys doing "boys' chores" and girls doing "girls' chores"? Mine did.

I had an older sister and two older brothers. We did chores based on traditional gender roles - my brothers took out garbage and mowed the lawn, while my sister and I set the table, did dishes, and so on. My sister had to do a lot more than I did - she was responsible from the age of 10 for looking after me in the mornings (I'm 5 years younger) and getting me ready for school. She also had to make sure my brothers and I got breakfast during the week. Mom made a huge pot of oatmeal on the weekend and it got reheated every morning on school days.

My sister also had to iron my dad's white work shirts, start supper before my parents got home from work, and help Mom with other jobs. Both my parents worked during an era when most moms were at home taking care of the kids and the household. 

We didn't get any money for these jobs, it was just expected of us. I don't remember having to do much more than set the table for supper, clear the table and dry dishes while my sister washed them. We fought constantly (but quietly) while doing chores together. 

When I was a bit older I helped with the laundry, mainly because I loved putting the wet clothes through the wringer! But I don't remember being told I had to do it. I don't think the work division was equitable in our home. It seems to me my sister was expected to take over the traditional housewife role as much as possible.

Mom wasn't big on housework and she did as little as possible, and didn't make us clean our rooms or make our beds. It wasn't like she did it for us, it just didn't get done. She didn't care if our rooms were messy and our beds unmade. It was great as a kid but as an adult both my sister and I quickly learned that we didn't really know how to clean a house! Sure we knew how to dust and run a quick vacuum but that was it. We had never learned the finer points of household cleanliness. But don't worry - if you come to visit me, I know now how to do a thorough cleaning! 

July 19, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are is Back!

Family history is back on TV! The new season of Who Do You Think You Are? is launching on July 23rd at 9/8c with an outstanding cast on TLC. is the main sponsor. If you aren't familiar with the show, it features stars uncovering secrets and learning their histories as they travel the world in search of their family histories. They often discover how history has shaped their lives, and how personality traits have been passed down.

The lineup for this season will feature celebrities Cynthia Nixon, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rachel McAdams, Valerie Bertinelli, Kelsey Grammer and Lauren Graham

July 18, 2014

Help Return WW2 Soldier Edwin Manktelow Dog Tag - Case #22

Steve is asking for help finding a WW2 soldier or his family. Here's his email to Olive Tree Genealogy:
While out with my metal detector here in England yesterday I found my first American dog tag, although it is in 3 pieces it very clearly reads
32585923   T43
I would love to be able to return this little piece of history to Mr Manktelow (if he is still alive) or to his family but I really have no idea how to go about this, then I found you via the internet and see that you have had some great results, so any help would be very much appreciated
Lorine's notes: I'll start the ball rolling on this search with a WW2 Enlistment Record for Edwin W. Manktelow

Name: Edwin W Manktelow 
Birth Year: 1922 
Race: White, citizen (White) 
Nativity State or Country: New York 
State of Residence: New York 
County or City: Steuben 
Enlistment Date: 17 Dec 1942
Enlistment State: New York 
Enlistment City: Rochester 

The Social Security Death Index is also helpful with this entry

Name: Edwin W. Manktelow
SSN: 103-16-0110
Last Residence: 14810  Bath, Steuben, New York, USA
BORN: 14 Oct 1922
Died: 1 Apr 2003

Can my wonderful readers help find Edwin's family? Please leave information as a comment on this blog post or via email to me at olivetreegenealogy AT gmail DOT com 

July 17, 2014

Family Fun Days - Have You Had Yours?

Family Fun Days - Have You Had Yours?
Some of my blog readers might recall that every year I host a Family Fun Day (aka Family Reunion). Hubs and I create different games each year - some have a genealogy twist, some are Scavenger Hunts, others are races. If you're looking for game ideas and f you want to read about some of my former Family Fun Day ideas and activities, just click on Family Fun Day and Family Reunion

This year I decided to keep it simple. We built an in-ground pool last year for my physiotherapy water sessions, and it seemed obvious that most of our family and friends would enjoy just relaxing by the poolside. But just in case I set up 4 fun events, all based on old-fashioned games.

We had an Egg on a Spoon Race, Corn in Your Shoe Race, Froggy Hula Hoop Event and a good old-fashioned sack race. Of course there were prizes for the winning team.

I always draw quick sketches of each event showing the rules and how to play. 

I like folks to mix it up and get to know other family members (each year I invite someone new that other family don't know) That means husbands and wives can't be partners during the games.

So this year I gave out Leis to everyone and the idea was that each person was to find whoever was wearing the matching lei and that would be their partner for the events.

The photos you see here were taken after the posters for each event sat out in the rain so forgive the worn appearance!

The key to a successful Family Fun Day is organization. So if you have not held one yet, be sure you plan it carefully. If you're like me you will need to make notes on what needs to be done. I covered my White Board in my kitchen with daily "to-do" lists starting on the Thursday before the big day.

Of course I also put out the Shutterfly books I created for our McGinnis family for everyone to look through.

I also have a plan for the day itself. Flexibility is built into it but it's important to think about timings - when will you eat, how far ahead will you set up buffet tables, when will you hold the games, when to serve coffee or tea, and so on.

Because I put family members to work I also create a timeline which I post on my white board or the fridge. It lists what needs doing throughout the day. That way if it gets hectic (as it always does!) I can simply ask people to help with a specific task and point them to the white board where they find details on what needs doing.

A quick diagram of where I want the events set up in our yards helps with organization when I ask my husband or son to get that set up with flags, ropes, traffic cones and whatever equipment is needed for each event. I just hand them my sketch, point to the tubs of equipment and they manage the rest without any input from me. You can see from my sketch that it isn't elaborate - it takes about 5 minutes or less to create.

So remember - organization and flexibility are the keys to a fun and successful Family Fun Day. Have you had yours this year?

July 16, 2014

Remembering WW1 Soldier Alton C. Young

Alton C. Young's military photo hangs on our wall. We aren't related but he is one of several WW1 soldiers whose life we remember with respect.

Alton had his photo taken in his C.E.F. uniform before heading overseas to join the fighting. This was a typical thing that many men did before leaving.

Sadly he did not return and his framed photo bears these few details:

Alton C. Young
87th Battalion Canadian Infantry
died of wounds received at Arras, Sept. 28, 1918
Enlisted at Sherbrooke

Research on found more details about Alton and his short life. His attestation papers reveal that he was born Alton Charles Young on 26 August 1894 in Quebec. His father's name is given as Charles. Searching birth records provides his mother's name of Almeda. Census records for 1911 indicate he was one of 7 children.

Alton was tall for those times - 5'11" with dark brown hair and brown eyes. He enlisted on 3 January 1918 and was only in the war for 9 short months before being killed at Arras.
A search of the C.E.F. Commonwealth Grave Registers confirms his death on Sept. 28, 1918 and describes his wounds as

Gunshot wound to head, right arm and left arm. Died of cerebral hemorrhage and a fractured skull at Totting Military Hosptial in Totting England.  Alton was buried in Grave #181615 in the Canadian Military Cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey England. A photo of his tombstone can be seen.

His father Charles living in North Hatley Quebec was noted as his next-of-kin. Young Alton was only 24 when he was killed. He was not married so left no descendants to honour him. But someone did honour and remember him for they kept this framed photo for many years until it ended up in an Antique Store in Ontario. Thanks to my husband, Alton now has a place of honour in our home. His story will be passed on.

CEF Commonwealth Grave Register for Alton C. Young

C.E.F. Attestation Papers for Alton C. Young

July 15, 2014

Index of Claimants Found in Commissioners Reports 1836-1845 Ontario

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 many of the films can be found on Olive Tree Genealogy website at Finding  Aid for Heir & Devisee Commission Online Films

As I continue in my corrections, I happened upon this wonderful index of names for Commissioners Reports 1836-1845 on film H1151.  The description stating that H1151 contains V. 90-98 is incorrect. This film contains V. 86-89 Below is the index for Names A-C for Volume 86 of microfilm H1151 Heir & Devisee Commission. You may save these images to your computer then enlarge them in your graphic program to read. There are 32 pages of names total and I will continue publishing them here on Olive Tree Genealogy blog. 

Volume 86 consists of Commissioners Reports 1836-1845 on images 49-319. Using the index below, you see that Robert Brown is indexed as page 168. We can then go directly to the Heir & Devisee Commission online microfilm and hunt for this page in order to view Robert's claim.

Robert Brown's name mentioned on page 168 be continued