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February 27, 2017

Genealogists Might Need to Change Passwords

Many of my readers will have heard of the Cloudflare breach but may not be aware of how many sites use this DNS.

To check whether you are using a site that is on the list see List of Sites possibly affected by Cloudflare's #Cloudbleed HTTPS Traffic Leak

When I checked the list, I spotted the sites 23andMe, Fitbit, Feedly, Uber, and others that I know many genealogists use.

While being on the list does NOT necessarily mean that the site has been hacked, in order to be pro-active I changed my passwords on these sites. 

Please note the caveat by the author of this list: "This list contains all domains that use Cloudflare DNS, not just the Cloudflare proxy (the affected service that leaked data). It's a broad sweeping list that includes everything. Just because a domain is on the list does not mean the site is compromised, and sites may be compromised that do not appear on this list."

Credits: Thanks to J.D. Thomas of Accessible Archives for posting the link to the list on Facebook

February 24, 2017

Updated Canadian WW1 Soldier Files Online

As of Feb. 15/17, 404,164 of 640,000 files are available online in the Personnel Records of the First World War database. Please visit the Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Files page for more details on the digitization project. Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686.

The most recent addition takes the digitization to Box 6831 and last name McGee.

Caveat: The files are not in strict alphabetical order, so if your ancestor's name is missing from the files that have been digitized, the papers may be in a different box not yet completed.

I am anxiously waiting for McGinnis, Peer, and Vollick! Not much longer though and meantime I'm enjoying browsing through the papers.

February 22, 2017

Meme: Immigrant Ancestor Hartman Hunsicker

There is a lot of discussion about immigration in America right now. Tempers have flared over the President's Travel Ban, and different groups hold various strong opinions. There is also Brexit, where immigration was a large focus of the recent vote which resulted in the U.K. leaving the E.U.

I've been following this for several months and it occurs to me that those of us in Canada, America, and Australia have immigrant ancestors. Have you researched yours? Do you know who they were, why they came to your country and when? Do you know how they fared once settled in their new land? Were they welcomed? Were they shunned? Was their discrimination based on their religion or ethnic origin? These are all questions that are important, and interesting to discover. With that in mind, I'm the dedicating Saturdays (as many as needed) as the day to join me in discussing your immigrant ancestors.
You will be able to read any you are interested in by using the keyword Immigrant Ancestors. I'm going to share each week what I know of my immigrant ancestors to North America (whether that is USA or Canada)

Today's immigrant ancestors is my 7th great-grandfather Hartman Hunsicker born circa 1692. Hartman was a Mennonite from Leistal, Bassel, Switzerland. 

Variations on the Hunsaker surname are: Hunsicker, Hunsecker, Hunsiker, Hunziger, Huntzinger and Hunsucker. Supposedly, the name derives from the origins of Valentine Hunsicker, in the centre of the Schwartzwald (the German Black Forest), about 70 miles north of Zurich where there is found a district which bears names from the time of Attila the Hun, in Hunstruck, Hunstruecker, Hunsbach, and in the center of the valley, Hunseck (Huns' Valley). It is believed that the name Hunsecker came from this valley and possibly this is the origin of the family.

Hartman and his wife Anna Stirtz had 5 children born to them in Switzerland. In 1726 Hartman fled Switzerland for Germany. Hartman and Anna relocated to Weisbaden Germany where two more children were born to the couple.

"Hartman Huntseker" fled Germany for Pennsylvania, arriving 10 September 1731 on the Pennsylvania Merchant, loaded with Palatine passengers from Rotterdam, John Stedman, Commander. Anna,  Frena and Eliz. Huntseker, all over age 16, were also on the ship, as were some under age 16: Anna, Ursul, Meyer and Hannes Huntseker. 

Hartman Hunsaker died 1733 in Frederick Township in what is now Montgomery County Pennsylvania.  Anna, his widow, married Jacob Cocghnower the widowed Preacher of the Skippack Mennonite Church in Perikomen Township in Montgomery Co Pennsylvania in 1734.

They moved to Manheim Twp Lancaster County Pennsylvania soon after the marriage. Anna died in 1737 and Jacob Cocghnower married for the 3rd time in 1738.

February 20, 2017

Bringing the Dead Back to Life: An Eagle Scout's Project

"David Swegle wanted to do something unique for his Eagle Scout community project, and bringing the dead back to life certainly qualifies for that category." Source

Example of Buried Tombstone
David Swegle, 15, knew that he wanted to contribute to the community in his Illinois town with something historical in origin.

So he contacted the nearby Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society to ask if they had any projects on the go. He was put in touch with President Pat Gorman who had been restoring grave markers in the Oakwood cemetery in his spare time

15 year old Swegle worked with Gorman and identified eight stones that had been buried, broken or displaced, the oldest of which dates to 1845 and belongs to 2-month-old William McCraw.

They began digging up the buried stones, cleaning with a special solution to removie algae and other material, scrubbing the stones, and hosing them off.

Then they re-lettered the stones using pungent, dark shadow paint. The repaired stones will be replaced in the spring. Young David also plans to research the people whose stones he repaired to discover pieces of their history and their family. Officials believe there may be over 100 stones that are buried.

Read the full story at Dixon Boy Scout rehabs 8 tombstones in Oakwood Cemetery

February 17, 2017

Looking for Ancestor Naturalization Records?

Are you looking for Naturalization records for an ancestor? Those records can provide so many clues and so much information on an ancestor - such as place of birth, name of ship they arrived on, date of birth and more. That's where my website can help you!

Naturalization Certificate for Robert Taylor
I spent all of last week updating and adding links to online Naturalization records, Passport records and Oaths of Allegiance for USA and Canada. I also added a section for United Kingdom Naturalizations and Passports

If you do happen to find a bad link that I missed, please take a moment and let me know. All I need is the URL of the page where the bad link is found, and the name of the link. I'll do the rest!

A few of the online databases that I have transcribed and published on for all genealogists to use freely are:

February 15, 2017

Find Ancestors on Ships to Canada 1400 to 1800

For anyone interested in the names of passengers sailing to Canada 1400 to 1800 I have corrected bad links to several ships lists.

The new links are for the following ship sailings:

Le Christoph April 14, 1535 voyage to Newfoundland from La Rochelle, France 

List of the Crew of Jacques Cartier Second Voyage, Spring 1535 

Index to Lists of Ships Sailing from France to New France (Quebec) 1600s & 1700s - gives dates of arrival, port of arrival and names of Captains  

Ships to New France 1633 - 1647 

Ships of the Carignan Regiment Info and pictures of the seven ships that transported the regiment in 1665

Duke of York arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia from Liverpool, England on May 1, 1772  

Albion from Hull, Yorkshire, England, 1774 to Halifax, Nova Scotia, with 184 passenger 

Providence from Newcastle, England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1774 

Thomas and William from Yorkshire to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1774 

Image Copyright:  Expired
Credit:  Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1937-499-1

February 13, 2017

A Valentine's Day Love Story

A Valentine's Day Love Story: 50 Years Apart
Happy early Valentine's Day to all my wonderful readers! In honour of tomorrow being all about love, I want to share a true love story with you. 

First, take a look at the 1916 photo on the left. It is a picture of my mom (in my grandmother's arms), my grandmother Fuller, my aunt Lily (in my grandpa's arms), my grandpa Fuller and standing in front, a little 2 year old boy named Godfrey Harwood.

Godfrey's parents were best friends with my grandparents. My grandparents lived in Guelph Ontario and Godfrey's parents lived in Toronto Ontario but the two families visited frequently. 

Mother's First Winnebago parked in my driveway 1973
When Godfrey was a teenager he went to live with my grandparents and during his stay he fell in love with my mother. He did not say a word to her, as his old-fashioned values prevented him from declaring his love when he did not have a job or money. So he left their Guelph home when mother was 18 and he was 20 years old, determined to work and save money to come back and ask my mother to marry him.

What he didn't know was that my mother had feelings for him too but of course being a woman in those days she could not tell him. She in turn had no idea he felt the same way about her. Godfrey did return when mother was 19 but she had just gotten engaged to my father, so he kept quiet and never spoke to her of his feelings or why he went away. 

They drifted apart and never saw or heard of each other again. My mother and dad married, had 4 children and lived out their lives until my father died 24 years after they were married. Mom was alone after that and eventually she went to live with her widowed mother and sister. 

In 1971 the 3 widows sold their belongings and bought a Winnebago. They traveled around N. America for many years. In fact they were written about in several articles in RV magazines. Eventually they decided to settle down more permanently. Sometime around 1984 when they bought two trailers, one to park in Florida, the other to park in Ontario. 

They chose a trailer park in Lettuce Lake Florida and settled in. As they were unpacking, who should step out of the next-door trailer but Godfrey! It was the first time mother and Godfrey had seen each other since 1934 - some 50 years earlier. 

Mother & Godfrey buld their own Ultra-Light
I'm sure you can figure out where my story is going so I will cut to the ending. Godfrey was married but his wife was gravely ill. A few years later she died and Godfrey felt free to tell mother about his feelings. Yes, he still loved her and much to his surprise (and I'm sure delight!) she returned the feelings. 

Mother and Godfrey never married but they lived together until his death in 1995. And so they came full circle and had several years of happiness together. 

During their time together they had many adventures. They built their own ultra-light airplane. Mother took flying lessons towards getting her pilot's licence. They went out for coffee one morning in British Columbia and decided to leave the coffee shop and drive to California to see the Rose Bowl Parade in person. They did not stop at their trailer, deciding they could buy what they needed on the way. 

Another year they decided to pack up their pup tent and go camping in Alaska. Mother was in her 70s at this time. They were gone for several weeks on that little jaunt. 

After Godfrey's death mother sold everything, packed what little she had left in her car and drove over 2,500 miles alone back to Ontario. She was 79 years old at the time. She continued her life of adventure, starting with her decision to back pack across Australia for her 80th birthday. But her next 10 years of adventures galore is best left for a different blog post.

February 10, 2017

Ashes of 11 Year Old Boy Found in Woods

From a Ohio newspaper we learn the sad story of a young boy's ashes found in a wooded area still in the urn:

Richland County Sheriff's deputies have a mystery on their hands, as they look for the owner of a brass urn believed to contain the ashes of an 11-year-old child."

The name Casey Shaun is etched on the top of the urn, with a birth date of 1986, and date of death as 1998. Investigators are hoping to find relatives of this young boy

Read the full story which also contains a phone number you can call if you have information, on Urn with 11-year-old's ashes found in rural area

Credits: Image from

February 8, 2017

The Victorian Slum

The Victorian Slum is a series of documentary on YouTube but you'll have to try to ignore the dreadful display of a "box within a box".

The video is displayed in a small rectangle in the center of the larger screen which displays the identical video blurred out but playing, in the background. The image on the left is a screenshot I took while the video played.

It's very difficult to watch but the documentary is interesting if you can overcome this.

February 6, 2017

Coming Soon! NYGBS Labs

The NYG&B Announces NYG&B Labs

NYG&B Labs will create an innovative space which leverages the latest trends in technology and digital services to assist in telling the stories of New York’s families.

NEW YORK, NY -- The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) announces the creation of NYG&B Labs, an innovative space which leverages the latest trends in technology and digital services to assist in telling the stories of New York’s families.

NYG&B Labs will be a destination for aspiring digital professionals who seek to advance their expertise in technology and its applications for the fields of history and genealogy. Each quarter team members will work on a designated, pre-approved project. Once completed, projects may be added to resources at and beyond.

Members of the NYG&B Labs team will benefit from one-on-one interaction with experts in the fields of genealogy and technology as they work to creatively apply technology to traditional genealogical methods relating to New York’s history. Team members will also receive a quarterly stipend and can work from anywhere in the world.

“NYG&B Labs will provide benefits to anyone researching the stories of New York’s past,” noted NYG&B President D. Joshua Taylor; “with NYG&B labs, the opportunities to create new tools and resources are nearly endless.” The launch of the project was made possible with funding from the NYG&B, individual donors, and support from commercial and nonprofit entities within the genealogical community.

Applications for NYG&B Labs Team members are now being accepted at The NYG&B is specifically seeking team members with an interest in technology, geo-coding, mapping, social media, website development, digital services, history, and other topics. 


February 3, 2017

Who Was Shakespeare?

 The Guardian has a very interesting article where Literary detective Heather Wolfe reveals how her passion for manuscripts helped unravel mystery of who the bard really was.

According to the article "In the simplest terms, Wolfe delivered the coup de grace to the wild-eyed army of conspiracy theorists, including Vanessa Redgrave and Derek Jacobi, who contest the authenticity, even the existence, of the playwright known to contemporaries as Master Will Shakespeare."

Read on to learn  How ‘Sherlock of the library’ cracked the case of Shakespeare’s identity

February 1, 2017

Happy 21st Birthday to Olive Tree Genealogy!

Can you believe it???? Twenty-one (21!) ago I started my website Olive Tree Genealogy

Olive Tree Genealogy actually began sometime in the winter of 1995 but it wasn't until February 1996 that it was given space on the old Rootsweb site. 

That site is still online at and it holds all the "extra" free databases and goodies that I don't have room for on Olive Tree Genealogy at
Many of the big sites we use today did not exist when I set up Olive Tree Genealogy. CyndisList came online right after me. Rootsweb started up around the same time. didn't exist.

I am often asked why I created Olive Tree Genealogy. After my husband died in 1993 and I was injured at school by a student, my enforced inactivity allowed me to begin creating Olive Tree Genealogy site.
I started with one ships list and articles I wrote about Huguenots, Walloons, Loyalists and Palatines. The  ships list was so popular and I received so many requests for more that I began hunting for more. Now Olive Tree Genealogy has over 1,600 ships lists online. Photos of ancestors - I've got that covered in my Lost Faces section. At last count there were 77 Civil War Era Photo Albums online, each containing about 50 ancestor photos, most of them identified by name.

Look at me now! I am officially a dinosaur in Internet terms. 21 years is a very long life on the Internet. Wonder if I can last another 21!