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January 31, 2016

Honouring WW1 Nursing Sister Edith Mary Harston

Edith Mary Harston was born in Warwickshire England June 5, 1886. On her CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) Attestation Paper she provides her mother's name as Mrs. Emily E. Harston of Stafford England.

Edith enlisted on March 9, 1915 in London England at the age of 29. She was a tall woman, 5'10" with blue eyes and brown hair. It is obvious how much taller she was than the other Nursing Sisters in this photo at left. Edith is in the middle.

There is no PDF file available yet for Edith but Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is digitizing and publishing these so eventually her file will be available to view. Below is the front of her 2-page Attestation Paper.


Hampstead Hall
Bafford House

January 30, 2016

Solving a Genealogy Puzzle Part 4: Finding Rachel

Please read Solving a Genealogy Puzzle: Finding Rachel Parts 1, 2 and 3 before continuing with this last article on my quest to find Rachel.

I hope I've put together a compelling case for the parents of Rachel Ann Van Slyke being James H. Van Slyke of Pennsylvania and Sarah Ann McCready.  As well I suggest that James Franklin Van Slyke and William M. Van Slyke were Rachel's brothers.

What evidence have I found to support my theory?


Year William Rachel James
1880 Father blank blank PA
1880 Mother blank blank PA
1900 Father PA unknown PA
1900 Mother OH MO MO
1910 Father no census unknown PA
1910 Mother no census unknown blank
1920 Father no census USA PA
1920 Mother no census OH MO
1930 Father no census PA PA
1930 Mother no census MO USA
Realizing that we do not know who provided information to the census taker, we can still see that these individuals fairly consistently show their father's birth place as Pennsylvania. The mother's varies from Missouri to Ohio.


William M. Van Slyke Rachel Ann Bridges James Franklin Van Slyke
* Mary Ann (his mother's middle name was Ann)
* Rachel E. (his sister's name)
* Lola A.
* James (his father's and brother's name)
* David 
* Richard
* James (her father's and brother's name)
* Timothy
* Almond Robert
* Harley Clyde
* Willie D. (her brother's name)
* Wesley?  
* Sarah M. (his mother's name)
* Maud
* Bessie
* James (his father's name)
* John D.
* William E. (his brother's name)
* Anna
* Ruth May
* Thomas
* Ruby  

Realizing that there may be other children born to these individuals, we can still see that the name James is consistently used, possibly in honour of their father, and the names Sarah or Ann used, possibly after their mother. As well, James death certificate provides his mother's name as Ann McCready.

Year William Rachel James
1850 possibly Bates Co unknown, possibly not born yet not born
1860 Prairie, Chariton Jackson, Jasper not found
1870 possibly Benton Co Grand River, Henry Grand River,Henry
1880 Windsor, Henry Windsor, Henry Tebo, Henry
1900 Oklahoma but in 1890 was in Bates Co MO Windsor, Henry Jefferson, Johnson
1910 dead Windsor, Henry Green Ridge, Pettis
1920 dead Windsor, Henry Windsor, Henry
1930 dead Windsor, Henry El Dorado, Cedar but 1937 died in Bates Co


 I  found the following family story about James Frank Van Slyke born Missouri:
This story comes from my dad, Louis Van Slyke.  He said his grandfather, James Frank Van Slyke, was about 8 years old one winter during the War of Northern Aggression.  He lived with his mother, his father had run off.  Some union soldiers were camped near their farm, it was cold.  James' mother was a Union sympathizer and baked biscuits for the union officers.  She sent Frank to the Union camp with the biscuits.  James didn't have an overcoat, so he was in his shirtsleeves in the cold.  One of the officers asked him, "Where's your coat, boy?"  James said he didn't have a coat.  The union officer took off his greatcoat and gave it to the boy.  James thought it was the best coat in the world.  He could walk through the snow-covered woods and didn't feel the cold at all.  He kept that coat until it just wore out. Later, James lived with anyone that would let him go to school.  He would do chores as required and go to school.

January 29, 2016

Are You Missing Out on Olive Tree Genealogy's Blog Posts?

An update on Google Friend Connect from Google: 

In 2011, we announced the retirement of Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites. We made an exception for Blogger to give readers an easy way to follow blogs using a variety of accounts. Yet over time, we’ve seen that most people sign into Friend Connect with a Google Account. So, in an effort to streamline, in the next few weeks we’ll be making some changes that will eventually require readers to have a Google Account to sign into Friend Connect and follow blogs. 

As part of this plan, starting the week of January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count.

Here's the important part - if you use a non-Google Account to follow Olive Tree Genealogy blog, you will need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow my blog. With a Google Account, you’ll get blogs added to your Reading List, making it easier for you to see the latest posts and activity of all the blogs you follow.

January 28, 2016

RootsTech Streaming Schedule

For those of us who can't make it to Salt Lake City Utah for RootsTech this year, great news! Several sessions will be live streamed! Here is the announcement from RootsTech.

Streaming Schedule

Not able to attend in person? Several sessions at RootsTech, including the general keynote sessions on Thursday and Saturday, will be streamed live on the home page of After the conference, recordings of these sessions will be posted on the website for a limited time.

January 27, 2016

Solving a Challenging Genealogy Puzzle: Finding Rachel Part 3

For anyone just joining me, you will want to read  Solving a Challenging Genealogy Puzzle: Finding Rachel Part 1 and Part 2 before you read Part 3.

Here is what I have accomplished so far in my search for Rachel.

I put together a decent timeline of Rachel Van Slyke during her lifetime. I discovered a couple I believe to be her parents. Just to remind everyone, my theory is that James H. Van Slyke, possibly born Pennsylvania and Sarah Ann McCready, probably born Missouri were Rachel's parents.

Here is a summary of what I found on James and Sarah Ann:

* April 1841 James Van Slyke of Van Buren Co. Missouri marries Sarah Ann McCready in Henry Co. Missouri
* April/May 1843 James H. Van Slyke of Van Buren Co. receives land in Bates Co. Missouri
* March 1856 James Van Slyke receives land in Jasper Co. Missouri
* July 1859 Sarah Ann Van Slyke marries James Wilkerson in Jasper Co.
* 1860 Rachel Vansback [sic], 9 years old is living with James Wilkerson's mother in Jasper Co.

Since James Van Slyke and Sarah Ann McCready were married in 1841 and Rachel was not born until 1850, I suggest there may have been other children born to this couple between 1841 and Sarah Ann's second marriage in 1859.

So my next research decision was to search census records for any Van Slyke individuals born in Missouri 1841-1860. (I chose 1860 as the end year assuming Sarah might have been pregnant with a Van Slyke baby at the time of her marriage)

So as not to prolong the suspense, I found two Van Slyke males born at the right time in the right place to be siblings of Rachel. Here's the summary for William M. Van Slyke born February 1842 Bates Co. Missouri and James Franklin Van Slyke born January 1853 Missouri. My census research was done on  Note that "nf" means "not found"

William M. Van Slyke aka Slack aka Vanslack 1842-1909 James Franklin Van Slyke aka Van Slack 1853-1937 Rachel Ann Van Slyke aka Bridges 1850-1931
1850 n.f. 1850 n.f.  - not born yet 1850 n.f.  - not born yet
1860 Census Prairie, Chariton,Missouri William Slack [sic] age 17 1860 n.f. 1860 Census Jackson, Jasper County Missouri. Rachel Vansback [sic], 9 living with Wilkerson family
18 May 1864. Warrensburg Larceny charges re stealing a horse from “Mrs. Pitts”. Residence given as Henry Co. Charges dismissed (as Van Slack) 1870 Grand River Township, Henry County Missouri. James Vanslike [sic] age 16 with Lewis family 1868 Benton County Missouri. Rachel Van Slyke of Benton Co. marries Alfred E. Bridges of Henry Co.
3 Sept 1864 Enlisted at Warrensburg MO 45th Inf. MO age 22 (as Wm M Van Slyke) married 1870-1880 1870 Census Grand River, Henry Co. Missouri. Edmund Bridges a farmer age 27 born Ohio, wife Ann 20 born Missouri 
5 July 1865 St Louis MO
1 Oct 1865 re-enlisted 50th Inf MO
1880  Tebo, Henry, Missouri. James Van Slack [sic] 26 with wife Elzina. parents b PA 1880 Census Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel 24 (recorded as Reichiel) born Missouri married to Edmon [sic] 37 born Ohio
1 Oct. 1865 marriage record for William Van Slyke marrying in Benton Co. to Louisa Teter. Bride and groom living in Pettis County 1890 n.f. 1900 Census Windsor, Henry County Missouri. Rachel A. Bridges, 50, born January 1850.Married to Alfred E. Bridges
1870 n.f. 1900 Census Jefferson, Johnson, Missouri. James F. Van Slyck 47, pa b. PA, ma MO 1910 Census Franklin Street, Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. R. A. Bridges, 60 years old. Married to A. E. Bridges age 67
1880 Windsor, Henry Co. Missouri 1910 Census Green Ridge, Pettis, Missouri. James. D [sic] Van Slyke 57. pa b. PA 1920 Census Franklin Street, Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel A. Bridges, 69 widow
1890 Special Census for  Surviving Soldiers, Widows of Civil War: Rich Hill, 2nd Ward, Bates Co. MO 1920 Felt St. Windsor, Henry, Missouri. James F. Van Slyke 67. pa b. PA. ma MO 1930 Census for Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel Bridges, 80 year old widow in Windsor, Henry County. Pa born in Pennsylvania, ma Missouri
1900 Keokuk, Lincoln Co. Oklahoma misindexed as Vandyke on Ancestry. Pa b PA, ma OH 1930 Census El Dorado Springs, Cedar, Missouri. James F. Van Slyke 77. pa b. PA Feb 25 1931 Windsor, Henry Co, MO - bur: Feb 26 1931 Laurel Oak Cemetery
16 Aug. 1909 Widow Filed for Civil War Pension Death 21 Dec. 1937. Registered Bates Co. MO, burial Windsor, Henry Co. MO.  shows dob Jan. 11, 1853. Mother Ann McCready ---

Naturally there are more clues and information to be found on each of the images for these records above.  We can see at a glance that the father is most often listed as born in Pennsylvania so that is certainly a clue I would follow further. 

The circumstantial evidence is strong (notice the geographic locations) and supports my theory that James H. Van Slyke and Sarah Ann McCready had at least three children: Willliam M. born February 1842, Rachel Ann born January 1850 and James Franklin born January 1853. 

It seems quite plausible that James the father died or deserted the family and that Sarah the mother remarried. I have found no trace of Sarah or her second husband James Wilkerson after their marriage in 1859. The fact that the children seem to have gone to live with other families makes me suspect they may have died soon after their marriage. 

In part 4 I will list all the circumstantial evidence that leads me to my conclusion that James H. Van Slyke and Sarah Ann McCready were the parents of Rachel Ann Van Slyke who married Alfred Edmund Bridges, and that Rachel had two siblings - William M. Van Slyke and James Franklin Van Slyke.

January 26, 2016

Solving a Challenging Genealogy Puzzle: Finding Rachel Part 2

As a reminder, here is the challenge I have been working on - Jess intrigued me with this email she sent to Olive Tree Genealogy
my great great grandmother was a Rachel Ann Van Slyke born 1/23/1850 Joplin Missouri. d. 2//1931. she married Alfred E bridges 11/1/1868. I've hit a dead end as to who her parents might be and am trying to establish a direct link to either Cornelius or Peter.

any ideas of any descendants of peter or cornelius who may have had a daughter named Rachel Ann Van Slyke and who lived in Missouri in 1850?
The start of this genealogy research journey can be found at Solving a Challenging Genealogy Puzzle: Finding Rachel Part 1

After putting together a fairly good timeline of Rachel during her lifetime, and analyzing the census records I found for further clues, I decided to look for any Van Slyke individuals in or near her locations. This was not such a stab in the dark as it might seem. There were very few Van Slyke names of any variation found in any of the census records for Missouri! That was very helpful because we can theorize that it is very possible they are all related. Remember - this is a theory only so I had to prove or disprove it.

Marriage 12 April 1841
I had no results in the 1850 and 1860 census on but found one very intriguing marriage record dated 12 April 1841 in Henry Missouri for James Vanslyke and Sarah Ann Mccready. The record stated that both James and Sarah resided in Van Buren County at the time of their marriage.

These looked like good candidates to be Rachel's parents so I then focused my research on this couple.  In a nutshell here is what I found (please note that this was not quick and easy, my findings are the result of many hours of diligent and creative research techniques)

Bates Co. Missouri Almost 150 land patents were issued in April and May, 1843. Below are the names of the original patentees, and the land they received.

VANSLYKE, JAMES M     17867     Twp. 41N - Range 29W, the NE¼SW¼ of Section 26 - 40 acres
VANSLYKE, JAMES M     17868     Twp. 41N - Range 29W, the NW¼NW¼ of Section 25 - 40 acres
VANSLYKE, JAMES M     17869     Twp. 41N - Range 29W, the SW¼NE¼ of Section 26

The image on for each of these patents states that James M. Van Slyke was living in Van Buren Co. at the time. But when the image is enlarged that middle initial "M" could be an "H". Keep this in mind as it relates to my next find.
Image from
The next item I found was dated 10 March 1856 when James "H" Vanslack (sic) of Jasper Co. Missouri purchases 40 acres of land

It seems very clear in this 1856 image that the middle initial is "H". In the 1843 image, it could be H which has been mistranscribed as an "M"

I feel confident that this is land being purchased by James Van Slyke who married Sarah Ann McCready. I did not find any other records for James Van Slyke but I did find a second marriage record for Sarah Ann McCready. I suggest we can theorize her husband was deceased or had deserted the family because in Joplin, Jasper Missouri on 28 July 1859 we find Sarah Ann Vanslyke marrying James Wilkerson.

Before I leave this article to move on to Part 3 of Finding Rachel, let's take a look at that surname Wilkerson. Remember 9 year old Rachel "Vansback" living with Levina Wilkerson in 1860? The 1850 census for Jasper finds Levina/Lavina Wilkerson (misindexed as Wilkenson) with her husband Morgan and family including son James Wilkerson age 18.

I suggest that Sarah Ann McCready married first James H. Van Slyke in 1843. She had at least one daughter, Rachel Ann McCready. Then her husband died or deserted the family some time between purchasing land in Jasper in 1856 and Sarah Ann's second married in 1859 to James Wilkerson. For an unknown reason, little 9 year old Rachel went to live with her step-father James' mother Levina Wilkerson by 1860. Did Sarah Ann and James die? Did they move away? Were they simply on an extended honyemoon?

My next research investigates those questions and more (for example does Rachel have siblings?) and will be found in Part 3 of this series.

January 25, 2016

Solving a Challenging Genealogy Puzzle: Finding Rachel Part 1

Jess captured my interest with an email she sent to Olive Tree Genealogy
my great great grandmother was a Rachel Ann Van Slyke born 1/23/1850 Joplin Missouri. d. 2//1931. she married Alfred E bridges 11/1/1868. I've hit a dead end as to who her parents might be and am trying to establish a direct link to either Cornelius or Peter.

any ideas of any descendants of peter or cornelius who may have had a daughter named Rachel Ann Van Slyke and who lived in Missouri in 1850?

As many of you no doubt know, I have written several books on the Van Slyke family. My first book was published in 1996 and my most recent is the 3rd Edition of my Cornelis Van Slyke book. "New Netherland Settlers Van Slyke Family: Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke 1604-1676 & his French-Mohawk Wife Ots-Toch" 366 pages, over 1200 footnotes available for Americans on Amazon and for Canadians on

My other book on the family is 
New Netherland Settlers: Willem Pieterse Van Slyke aka Willem Neef: A genealogy to 5 generations of the descendants of Willem Pieterse Van Slyke (Volume 10)

on or

Even though I have an extensive database of Van Slyke material from my years of research, Jess' Rachel Ann Van Slyke was not in it. So I began my research and I'd like to take you with me on this challenging and complex journey.

 The first item that Jess needed to realize is that the surname Van Slyke can be found in many variations - Van Slyck, Van Slike, Van Slack and more. When searching online some search engines require precision meaning that a search of Van Slyke will not result in any hits if the surname is indexed as Vanslyke (with no spaces). Those are just the variant spellings and of course we have to talk about misindexing and errors by transcribers. So an open mind is very important.

Looking back at Jess' email we can see that if Rachel was born in 1850 we might find her in the 1850 census. We should find her in 1860 still under Van Slyke. Then we should find her under Bridges from 1870 on.

Even after extensive and open-minded searching using wildcards and other techniques I found no sign of Rachel in 1850. However I found a possible  candidate for Rachel in the 1860 census for  Jackson, Jasper County Missouri. Rachel Vansback [sic], 9 living with the Wilkerson family consisting of Levin, 43 and William 22, . I made a note to search for the Wilkerson family members with this Rachel to see if they somehow connected to our Rachel later. I should note that I used and Family Search for my census searches.

1860 Census Rachel Vansback [sic]

1868 Marriage Record Rachel Van Slyke
But first I obtained that 1868 marriage record to see if there were more clues I could follow up on:

1868 Benton County Missouri. Rachel Van Slyke of Benton Co. marries Alfred E. Bridges of Henry Co.

Meantime I continued gathering all records for Rachel so I could get an overview of her movements during her lifetime. Families often stayed close to one another and there was a good chance that Rachel had siblings or her parents or aunts and uncles nearby. Only by methodically researching for her throughout her life could I put together a complete picture. To shorten this lengthy explanation, here is the summary of the census records where Rachel was found :

1870 Census Grand River, Henry Co. Missouri has Edmund Bridges a farmer age 27 born Ohio, wife Ann 20 born Missouri and son Richard 2 months, born April. This is Alfred Edmund Bridges and his wife Rachel Ann Van Slyke, both recorded with their middle names.

1880 Census Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel 24 (recorded as Reichiel) born Missouri married to Edmon [sic] 37 born Ohio, with sons Dick [no doubt the Richard in the 1870 census] 10 and James 8.

1900 Census Windsor, Henry County Missouri. Rachel A. Bridges, 50, born January 1850. Married to Alfred E. Bridges. Year of marriage given as 1869. Rachel has had 9 children with 5 still living. With them are Timothy Bridges 19, Almon B. Bridges 17 and Harley C. Bridges 12.

1910 Census Franklin Street, Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. R. A. Bridges, 60 years old. Married to A. E. Bridges age 67. Rachel has had 9 children and 4 are still living. With them are their son Tim (mistranscribed as Lim) age 29 and his second wife Helen

1920 Census Franklin Street, Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel A. Bridges, 69 widow living with Ruth V. Bridges, 11 year old granddaughter and the Allen family listed as “roomers”

1930 Census for Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel Bridges, 80 year old widow in Windsor, Henry County. She states her father was born in Pennsylvania, her mother in Missouri.

The last record I found for Rachel was her death registration: BRIDGES, Rachel Ann VANSLYKE - b: Jan 23 1850 Joplin, Jasper Co, MO - d: Feb 25 1931 Windsor, Henry Co, MO - bur: Feb 26 1931 L0224 GA - 81Y - sp: Alfred E. BRIDGES. Laurel Oak Cemetery. Clyde Bridges was the informant. 

There are many clues to follow up on, and a great deal of information we can learn when we analyze the various records I found. For example, we can research Alfred Bridges. We can follow the trail of Rachel's children to see if there is any mention of their maternal grandparents. Who are the Allen family in 1920 census? We can look for Van Slyke males born in Pennsylvania (as per that 1930 census) and list them for future research re Rachel's father. That gap in the 1850 census is hanging over our heads and we could start searching it in Jasper County page by page to see if Rachel appears anywhere.

Next: I find possible parents for Rachel in Part 2

January 24, 2016

Honouring WW1 Nursing Sister Gertrude Billyard

Nursing Sister Connie Phillips had one photo in her WW1 album of pictures that featured eight Nursing Sisters in front of a small cottage. Each had their last name written underneath so I began research to try to find out about each of these amazing women.

The first place I looked was the online CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) database

Gertrude Billyard was born in Windsor Ontario on March 1, 1881. When Gertrude enlisted at the age of 34 on February 24, 1915 her mother Annie was living in Young Saskatchewan. This address was later changed to Winnipeg Manitoba as Gertrude's pay was sent to her mother. Surprisingly, Gertrude enlisted in London England not in Canada.

According to her Certificate of Service (below) Gertrude served in England, France and Salonika Greece during the War.

On June 14, 1919 she was on board the ship Aquitania sailing for home. 

She was discharged in December 1919

Gertrude died on 10 March 1953 (as per her CEF service file)

Gertrude's full service file is online as a PDF document.

January 23, 2016

Introducing Patricia Ryan, Canadian Genealogist

Recently I wrote a blog post called Where (and Why) Are Canadian Genealogists Hiding?

I issued a challenge to Canadian Genealogists to speak up and promote themselves better. As part of my challenge I crowdsourced a list of Canadian Genealogists which you can view at Update on Where Are the Canadian Genealogists Hiding?

Next I invited any Canadian Genealogists on that list to participate in a Guest Biography post here on Olive Tree Genealogy. I'm pleased to introduce you to Patricia Ryan

I asked Patricia some questions about her role as a Canadian Genealogist and here are the responses.

After being raised on a Saskatchewan farm – back when dirt was new [haha] – and having later lived in a few different cities, I currently reside in a small Saskatchewan town … happily just outside of the city ‘rat race’.

1.    How and when did you become involved in the field of genealogy?

I think the one thing most of us have in common is waiting too long. Like so many people, I showed no interest in family history until the oldest [and last] living member of my family, who could have answered my questions, had passed away. That was my Mother in 1994 – and this kicked off my interest in genealogy. I inherited her old photo albums. You know the ones that were large, heavy, and had thick, black pages that felt like cardboard? The ones with all the pictures glued in, with no names, dates, or locations? Yup. Those unknown people peeked my curiosity. Over the decades I’m sure Mom had told me the identities of everyone, but I had listened with my ears closed. Too bad.

So I began my first foray into genealogy with a family story of an uncle who was said to have fought overseas in WWII, who married a Queen’s Nurse, was then wounded, received a medal, lived his final days/years in a Veterans hospital in Vancouver BC, Canada, and who was buried in a Soldier’s plot on that same West Coast. This search began before the Internet, so it was all done with paper, pen, stamps, and a lot of impatient waiting. When the first results came back his military papers showed none of the family story was true. Not. One. Single. Detail.

But when I shared this information with my much older brother he was able to show me evidence that the Service Files were incorrect! What the heck?! How could I not trust the War Department to have kept accurate records? How do you know who and what to believe? So I set about serious learning, and eventually I managed to get it all sorted out AND the family story was 100% accurate – as were the SECOND set of military papers I found. But the first file was also correct! I learned many valuable lessons and I was bitten, hard! It was a great personal accomplishment so I believed that if I could solve that tangled mess there was nothing out of my reach. Oh yes and it was so much fun!! HaHaHa

2.    What is your main genealogical focus?
I guess over the years, and now decades, my focus has changed, a lot. I began with researching my paternal line, and really forgot I had a Mother until almost four years later! Haha My Father was born in Scotland. My Mother was born in the USA. This makes me a 1st generation Canadian so it was quite jaw dropping when I discovered I had great grandparents living in Ontario Canada in the 1850s, AND many more generations back, there was an entire ancestral line of great greats living in Quebec Canada in the 1600s! So am I still 1st generation? I am a combination of Scottish, Irish, German, Dutch, and maybe some French – and I love them all.

I got involved in instructing in the late 1990’s, and then speaking at conferences followed quickly behind. Passion had turned to obsession, so much so I quit my good paying power job and devoted every second to studying and researching my family. I am a founding member of the College of Certified Saskatchewan Genealogists, and have graduated their courses. Of course, with no income I was forced to learn to do all my research as economically as possible! I credit this need with turning me into the thorough, careful researcher I am today. If there is an inexpensive method of finding something I’ll find it! Haha AND I’ll share the method(s) with my students and conference audiences. I was also invited to join GenClass around 2008. We were slightly ahead of our time as we offered online, inexpensive, classes that even included chats in an online chat room. It was great fun and another learning experience working with professional genealogists around the globe – there were several from the USA including Lisa Alzo, two from Israel, and others from Scotland, Australia, and me representing Canadian research. We stayed together for a number of years until GenClass was folded into a much larger genealogy group.

Teaching and presenting really forces you to become as much of an expert as possible, on whatever subject you are speaking about. No one wants to verbally stutter-step or be shamed in front of one, or a hall full of people! But it does take away from other researching time, so most of my time now is spent on developing new courses and new presentations, but I still use, almost exclusively, my own families as material so I still get to research. It is much more difficult after such a long time researching, to get many familial genealogy ‘happy dances’, but that only makes each one truly special when they do happen. So my focus has really turned to education, although I still work on my brick wall people, and when a break through happens it usually means another new presentation gets written. I really like helping people learn to do this - the right way. I love seeing them get that ‘ah ha’ moment!

The other thing that is evolving is my travel focus. I still love the Caribbean for winters, but have been lucky enough to travel to the homelands of many of my favorite ancestors. We are allowed to have ‘favorites’, aren’t we? Haha I’ve been to Scotland, even managing to get an invite into the home where my Father was born in 1900. I’ve been to old east Germany & the Czech Republic, managing to get inside the house of my great grandparents who left for America in 1879. Fall 2016 we are headed out on a driving trip to the Maritimes, with ‘slight’ side trips to where my families lived in eastern USA States. And without a doubt, my favorite ancestral country is Ireland which I’ve also visited and found the land of my ‘old ones’. I also managed to find that Van Morrison was performing in a small town hall, holding only 300 people, ten miles from where my Irish grandfather & families had lived. And I got tickets – in row 4!! Amazing. Being an accomplished researcher can come in handy for all kinds of things!!   

Please continue reading about Patricia in her PDF file.

January 22, 2016

A Suitcase of Memories: Eastern Star Banquet 1944

This is the suitcase that was given to my husband last week. It came from his great-aunt Florence Elgie's home after her death.

We removed the items carefully (see below) and started sorting them. There were many school exercise books, dozens of songs written by Florence's father William Elgie, and other miscellaneous items. 

The first one we are featuring is a small booklet for St. Marys Chapter No. 121 Order of the Eastern Star Banquet.

The Banquet was in honour of Sister Sparling D.D.G.M. and was held on Friday October 27, 1944 in Knox Church in St. Mary's. Inside is a list of names of Officers which may be of interest to any descendants.

The name Mrs. Florence Hooper, Warder is Florence Elgie, owner of the suitcase.

Here are the names:

Miss Helen Grieve
Mr. George Muma
Mrs. Irene McTaggart
Mr. Archie Montgomery
Mrs. Annie Stanley 
Miss Hattie Mayler
Miss Roberta Sparling
Mrs. Annie Bragg
Mrs. Lena Muma
Mrs. Aileen Marriott
Mrs. Linda Parsons
Miss Mary Forrest
Mrs. Marjorie Butters
Mrs. Florence Willard
Mrs. Lottie Hall
Mrs. Gertrude Egan
Mrs. Florence Hooper
Mr. Herbert Sparling