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December 28, 2018

My New Year's Resolution - Singular not Plural!

Every year I think about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. I used to make long lists - 5, 10, even 12 goals sometimes. But I never accomplished them all! So a few years ago I decided to make one goal - one important goal - that I could focus on.

A single goal sounds easy, right? But it's not! At least, not for me, because usually that one goal involves being more organized or knuckling down and finishing a project. Because I have so many irons in the fire, it's not easy for me to devote the time needed for goals like those.

You know what they say - "A goal without a plan is just a wish" So I need to plan before I set my goal and then plan how to achieve it.

Where to Start?

I have so many projects to start or finish or re-organize that I hardly know which one to choose for 2019. For example I'm not finished editing my second mystery novel involving genealogist Janie Riley, called A Grave Secret. I need and want to finish it! It will make me so proud to see it along with my first mystery Death Finds a Way.

Speaking of my first mystery, if you've read it and liked it, could you take a minute and leave a review on Amazon? Reviews help authors and I'd really appreciate it.

But I also need (desperately) to organize my folders of family photos and genealogy documents. They're a mess. There's really no other way to describe them. I need to make sure  all genealogy document images have file names (not numbers assigned when I downloaded them), organize them, file them properly in clearly labelled folders, and save them to my WD Passport as a backup.

I'm behind in my goal to write more New Netherland Settlers books. I have two that are almost ready for publication. Should I focus on them? They would be the fastest, easiest to accomplish....

Aha - the Light Bulb Goes On

Writing this blog post has helped me to figure out what my goal is going to be. I have decided to focus on finishing A Grave Secret and get it published! If I finish it before the year is done (and I'm pretty sure I will) I'll get cracking on those two partially completed New Netherland Settlers books. Unless of course a bright shiny object should appear in front of me!

Wish me luck! What are your goals for 2019?

December 26, 2018

DNA and Cold Cases

I'm sure most of you have been hearing or reading about DNA being used to solve cold cases.

Genealogists are being called in to help trace family trees using the DNA taken from forensic evidence. They then look for matches using GedMatch which is a free tool where anyone can upload their DNA results.

Once a match is found, detectives can focus on family members connected to that match or matches.

There are two opposing opinions on this somewhat controversial new tool of course. I think it's a fascinating use of DNA and so helpful to law enforcement.

Imagine taking a killer off the streets and putting him/her somewhere where he/she can't hurt anyone else. Imagine the relief and feeling of closure of family members who finally know who hurt or murdered a love one.

Some think this is an intrusion and disagree with the blind searching which ends up matching people who are not suspects but are connected to them through DNA.  In other words you could find that you match a criminal - a distant cousin, someone you don't know, someone you do know.....

Because of the controversy, GedMatch now has a warning when a user logs in.

"April 28, 2018 While the database was created for genealogical research, it is important that GEDmatch participants understand the possible uses of their DNA, including identification of relatives that have committed crimes or were victims of crimes. If you are concerned about non-genealogical uses of your DNA, you should not upload your DNA to the database and/or you should remove DNA that has already been uploaded. Users may delete their registration/profile and associated DNA and GEDCOM resources."

Personally my opinion is if someone I'm related to commits a crime, they deserve to face whatever our justice system deals out. I would be glad if my DNA helped bring them to justice, and gave closure to a family.

In any case, here's an interesting article talking about five cold cases that were solved using DNA.

Genealogists Turn to Cousins’ DNA and Family Trees to Crack Five More Cold Cases

December 24, 2018

3 Ways to Give at Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving and yet it often seems like a time of getting! More presents, more Christmas lights, more food.... it is easy to find ourselves caught up in greed and grab.

But I've found ways to convert that to more giving. If you're not already involved in these wonderful projects (or something similar) I urge you to try them out. It's a win-win situation when you help others and you feel good about it.

I have 10 grandchildren. As each of them reaches age 13, I take the money I normally spent on them for a gift under the tree, and use it for one of the following projects. Each grandchild knows what was purchased in their name and receives a card with information on the gift and how it helps others. The younger children still receive a present under the tree but I include them in the Sick Children's Hospital project.

Sick Children's Hospital has a very special meaning for me. When my first grandchild was one month old he became very ill and ended up in Sick Kid's. He was diagnosed with the flesh-eating bacteria. One lung was completely destroyed and the second partially gone and we were told he would not likely make it through the night. But specialists worked tirelessly to save him and although he was in ICU for many weeks and had many setbacks, they managed to control and eradicate the bacteria before the second lung was completely gone. Thanks to the doctors and staff at Sick Children's he survived (minus one lung) and is now an active 20 year old.

1. Plan Canada 
I support 3 girls on a monthly basis. Fiker lives in Ethiopia, Rojina is in Tibet, and Racheal is in Zambia. These sponsorships replace spending that money on gifts to my eldest grandchildren. My grandkids get to enjoy the letters and photos we receive from the girls, and they also get to be part of helping others who are not as fortunate as they are.

2. Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto Ontario
I love choosing what I think is the perfect gift to make in a grandchild's name. For example, Quinn likes to cook so last year I gave the Holiday Cooking and Baking Supplies gift in his name.

3. Kiva
By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. I'm part of the Genealogists for Families Team on Kiva. Currently I have made 10 loans to women in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, El Salvador, Cambodia, Mali, Samoa, and the Philipines.

I try to make loans in my adult children's names based on their interests. For example I made one loan in my motorcycle loving son-in-law's name to a man in Kenya who need to purchase a new motorcycle for his taxi business.

Here are 3 of my 4 current loans:

Often I choose single woman with children who are involved in some aspect of food services - cooking, raising chickens, running a small grocery store. In fact I have some money in my account from a loan that was repaid a few days ago, and I'm going to choose someone new today.

The above are ways I spend money I would normally spend on gifts to family at Christmas. It may not suit everyone but I urge you to check out what is available where you live and consider a project helping others to better their lives.

December 22, 2018

Would my Ancestors Come for Christmas Dinner?

Over the past 15 years I've entertained 30 plus family and friends at a huge Christmas feast. I do all the cooking. I make the traditional Christmas turkey with stuffing, plus one other meat and a homemade pasta.

For my second meat dish I've made cabbage rolls, cow's tongue, ham, Cornish hens and a roast.

For my pasta dish I've made cheese ravioli, potato gnocchi, mac 'n cheese, and pierogi.

My side dishes were always mashed potatoes, candied yam, stir-fried broccoli, and Kak's cukes (hubs' grandmother's recipe for a cucumber dish). Sometimes I added carrots in a ginger orange juice sauce, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto or roasted root vegetables. And of course - gravy and cranberry sauce.

Desserts varied.  I frequently made individual pavola with raspberries. A few times I made individual trifles. Once I made  labour intensive pasteis de nata. Sometimes I made carrot cake or a simple ice cream with raspberry coulis.

I used to look at all the food put out on our buffet tables, and think about my ancestors. What kind of Christmas dinner did they enjoy? How would they feel seeing the abundance and variety of the meal at our home? Sometimes I pretended that some of my ancestors were there and I would ask them questions as they dug in to the meal.

Who's Coming to Dinner?

So who would I invite to one of our feasts? My top pick would be Joseph and Fanny (Downey) McGinnis because I'm desperate to know who their parents were, and where in Ireland they were born. I'd be enthralled hearing their story of leaving Ireland during the Famine Years and what it was like sailing over to Canada.

I'd like to hear from Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke what it was like arriving in New Netherland (present day New York) in 1634. I want to know more about the mother of his children, Ots-Toch, the French-Mohawk woman he met in the New World. I don't think she would like to come as early records indicate she wasn't fond of Christians.

Jacob Peer would be high on my list because I want to know if he is descended from the Dutch Pier line that settled in New Netherland in the mid 17th Century. Yes it's funny we genealogists can become obsessed with one unknown fact.

But this will all have to stay in my imagination unless one day a time machine is invented. Even then my idea won't happen as I decided last year was my last time making such a huge feast. So it would have to be Chinese takeout or Pizza going back with me on that machine. I bet my ancestors would enjoy that just as much, maybe more.

December 20, 2018

My Surname Christmas Tree

Here's my yearly surname Christmas Tree. It's the only one I'm doing this year.

Some of my surnames are

Peer, Vollick, King, McGinnis, Downey, Stead, Simpson, Burkholder, Fuller, Greenlees, Johnston, Shuart, Van Slyke, Ryckman, Bradt, Van Valkenburg, Damen, Caiser, Taine, Philpot, Norris, Dawson, Motteram, Wildbore, Higginson, Bell, Caspall, Holford, Smith, Dawson, Marical, Baker, Larroway, De Graw, Gingerich, Jamieson, Hubbard, Laming, Williams, Norman, Whibley, Page, Crunden, Fryer, Van Horn, Snediker, Sutton, Elvery, Anson, Blandell, Jackson, LeRoy, Winne, Hommell, Snider, Bellinger, Warner, Van Alstyne, Muller, Deroche, Wust, Kehl, Earl, Cole, Burd, Vrooman, Van Horn, Snediker, Post, Shuart, Uziele, and more.

December 18, 2018

Putting My Christmas Memories Away

Yesterday I spent several hours sorting and organizing Christmas decorations. I have hundreds, probably enough to decorate 10 trees. I even have a few of the old Santa decorations from the tree we had when I was young. And every year I buy more.

That's me on the left (many years ago!) in front of a little tree. See the red Santas with the twisted legs? They were one of my favourites when I was a kid. Those long legs that could be twisted around in every direction really tickled me. Santa was tall and skinny instead of rotund, another fact I loved as a kid. I managed to save a couple of those Santas and they've gone with me through many years and many moves.

No More Christmas Decorating

So yesterday was bittersweet because I made the decision last month to not decorate trees anymore. Each year Christmas has become more difficult for me to manage. Usually I entertain 30 or more family - and I do all the cooking. I loved it, but my physical issues are making it too challenging to continue. As well my family is dwindling, either from death or geographic distance. So it just seemed like this year would be a sad Christmas, and it's hard to get in the spirit with that mind-set. Hence the decision for this year at least. Maybe longer.

Some Memories are Painful
Each decoration I found, unwrapped and held, reminded me of something - an event from the past, a tree put up 10 years ago that looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas, a friend, a relative who gave me the ornament as a gift, or family Christmases of long ago. 

Mind you, Christmas has never been my favourite holiday. My father died Christmas Day when I was 14. I miss him. So Christmas is sprinkled with sadness for me. That's me with my dad the Christmas I turned 10.

After a lot of thought and discussion with hubs I made my decision and set about packing items to be stored.

So Many Tubs of Ornaments!

I organized the ornaments by colour and by theme in case I break down and decorate a small tree next year.

I ended up with 3 huge tubs, one for purple, one for green, one for the neutrals (ivory, white, grey, silver and gold) and several smaller tubs - one for red decorations, one for decorations from my childhood or made by my children or gifts from friends and family, one for kids decorations for their little tree, one for miscellaneous sets in assorted colours, and one labelled "winged creatures" which are birds, dragonflies, butterflies - you get the idea - anything with wings.

Then I sorted all the garlands and ribbons and so on and put them all in a tub. Next came tags and wrapping paper and ribbons for presents - that took 2 more tubs. By the time I finished, I had a total of 9 large tubs representing Christmas memories. 

It Will Be Okay

I feel a bit sad but I also feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Hubs and I discussing what we will do over the Christmas holidays. We have friends coming up from the city for Christmas Eve so I might cook a traditional Christmas dinner - although my friend wants me to just order Chinese Food! We are not sure what else we might do. Perhaps we'll just close the blinds, put the fireplace on, and watch our favourite movies while sipping tea. 

December 16, 2018

Linking 2 Separate Family Lines, Mine & Hubs

I love it when family lines intersect! Recently I discovered that my first cousin, twice removed (Anne Ruby McInnes) married my husband's first cousin, three times removed (Alexander Butler) in Ontario in 1919.

I'm blown away by this. McInnes is my father's ancestry and stems from Daniel, the brother of my great-grandfather Alexander McGinnis. Daniel ran away from home as a young teenager, and changed the spelling of his surname to McInnes. My line stayed in the Guelph Ontario area, where Daniel's settled in Wingham area of Ontario.

The Butler line from my husband stems from his African American ancestor Jonathan Butler who settled in the Waterloo area of Ontario. Alexander Butler is the son of the brother of hub's 2nd great grandfather Joseph Butler.

I also discovered yet another linking of two families (mine and my husband's) in 2015 and wrote about it on Twists and Turns Can Lead to Great Genealogy Surprises

The intersection of completely unrelated lines is fascinating and has me wondering if this happens very often in family trees. Just this morning a Facebook friend posted that she just discovered that the daughter of her 4th great grandparents married the grandson of her husband's 5th great grandparents.

Inquiring minds want to know! Who all has found this intersection in their family?

December 14, 2018

12 Days of Christmas, Genealogy Version

I wrote this jingle in December 2013 to reflect my version of The 12 Days of Christmas for genealogists. I haven't shown it in a few years so here it is again!

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
9 DNA test results
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
10 Eureka Moments
9 DNA test results
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
11 genealogy subscriptions
10 Eureka Moments
9 DNA test results
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 well-sourced family trees
11 genealogy subscriptions
10 Eureka Moments
9 DNA test results
8 tombstone photos
7 marriage records
6 new found cousins
5 brickwall solutions
4 family photos
3 Pedigree Charts
2 Source Citations
and a Family Bible for my McGinnis family  

Original lyrics by Lorine McGinnis Schulze 2013
Image "Merry Christmas10" by gubgib on

December 11, 2018

Five Ideas for Genealogy Christmas Gifts

Every year I try to find some items that I think would make terrific Christmas gifts for genealogists. So here is my list for 2018!

1. My number one gift this year is DNA kits. That's right. There are many different companies offering sales and specials on DNA kits but my favourite is still Ancestry. 

AncestryDNA is available in the US for $59 plus shipping. This special ends Dec. 24th

Ancestry Gift Subscriptions is20% off for those in the USA.
AncestryDNA is available for Canadians for $89 CAD plus shipping.This sale ends at 11:59 PM EST on December 25th.  

2. Give the gift of your favourite genealogy book - or one that you know the recipient would love.  You can look through a huge list of books about genealogy by various authors on Amazon or you could go to the list of my published genealogy books and choose one! I have genealogy-history books as well as genealogy guides and a genealogy murder mystery for your enjoyment.

3. Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac   I recently bought one of these and I am loving it! It's a wireless document feeder scanner. I can scan up to 25 items at once and they appear automatically on my computer in one file (or in Evernote or Dropbox or many other choices!)

4. Journals, journals, and more journals.   Give a beautiful journal for writing pesonal stories and memories. I use Iona Handcrafted Books . Tip: If the checkout won't accept a non-USA order, just email or phone as they do accept international orders.

5. Give a gorgeous family photo album. You don't need an archival quality album as you are only putting copies of your original photographs into it. Place your scanned and printed photos in the album and then write a description of each photo on the album pages. Write a nice inscription inside the front cover, place the album in a Christmas Gift Bag and you're done!

December 10, 2018

Understanding the Border Crossings Canada-USA

Many genealogists have asked me about the online border crossings on Ancestry. Some are confused about when the border crossing records begin. Others are bewildered at finding an ancestor who they know lived in border towns such as Windsor Ontario or neighbouring Detroit Michigan, in the set called St. Alban's (Vermont) Border Crossing Records. Why, they ask, would their ancestor cross at Vermont which would lead directly to Quebec!

These two questions are easily answered.

1. Border crossing records were not kept until 1895.


2. To find out what a database consists of, it is wise to read the description of the database before searching. 

For example one border crossing database on Ancestry is called St. Albans (Vermont) but by reading the description of the database, we see that it contains an index of aliens and citizens crossing into the U.S. from Canada via various ports of entry along the U.S.-Canadian border between 1895 and 1960. 

St. Albans Vermont set of border crossings - note the port of entry of Detroit

 From this we learn that it does not mean that everyone found in the database crossed at St. Albans. Researchers should scrutinize the image carefully as it will indicate the port of entry.


Ancestry has U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960 online. This database covers crossing into the U.S. from Canada via various ports of entry along the U.S.-Canadian border between 1895 and 1960. Specifically, this database covers the following ports and years:

  • Eastport, 1924-1954
  • Porthill, 1923-1954
  • Bangor, 1924-1952
  • Calais, 1906-1952 (also includes a few arrivals from 1877 to 1905)
  • Eastport, Fort Kent, Lubec, and Madawaska, 1906-1952 (also includes some departure records of U.S. citizens)
  • Fort Fairfield, 1909-1953 (also includes a few arrivals at Easton, ME, Houlton, ME, Boston, MA, and Buffalo, NY and a few alien departures)
  • Houlton, 1906-1952 (also includes some Indian admissions, ca. 1941-ca. 1953; “Records of Registry” documenting aliens’ previous arrivals for which no records could be found; Re-entry permits; persons admitted under the “Rule of Presumption” ; Land border departure records; War brides and their children)
  • Jackman, 1909-1953
  • Van Buren, 1906-1952
  • Vanceboro, 1906-1952 (also includes a few arrivals from 1888 to 1905 and a few arrivals at Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John, New Brunswick)
  • International Falls, Baudette, Duluth, Mineral Center, Pigeon River, Pine Creek, Roseau, and Warroad, 1907-1952 (also includes some departure records of U.S. citizens)
  • Noyes, 1917-1929
  • Babb, 1928-1956
  • Chief Mountain, Cut Bank, Del Bonita, Gateway, Great Falls, and Roosville, 1923-1956
  • Sweet Grass, 1917-1954
New York
  • Buffalo, Lewiston, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, 1902-1954
  • Hogansburg, Malone, Morristown, Nyando, Ogdensburg, Rooseveltown, Waddington, Alexandria Bay, Cape Vincent, Champlain, Clayton, Fort Covington, Moers, Rouses Point, Thousands Island Bridge, and Trout River, 1929-1956
North Dakota
  • Northgate and St. John, 1910-1921
  • Pembina and Walhalla, 1917-1929
  • Portal, 1915-1921
  • Newport, 1906-1924
  • St. Albans, 1895-1954
  • Anacortes, 1924-1953
  • Blaine, 1905-1956
  • Danville, 1931-1956
  • Ferry, 1917-1956
  • Laurier and Marcus, 1923-1951
  • Lynden, 1923-1952
  • Metaline Falls, 1924-1954
  • Northport, May 1923-1951
  • Oroville, 1918-1954
  • Port Angeles, 1929-1952
  • Sumas, 1924-1956


Ancestry also has Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935 online. These records consist of border entry lists and Form 30 (individual entry forms).

Canadian Border Entry Ports:
Twin Lakes
British Columbia
AnyoxKingsgatePacific HighwayRykerts
CarsonMidwayPentictonUnion Bay
CascadeMissionPhillipsUpper Sumas
ChilliwackMyncasterPort SimpsonVictoria
DouglasNanaimoPowell RiverWaneta
Grand ForksNewgatePrince RupertWhite Pass
GatewayOcean FallsRoosvilleWhite Rock
AmhertsburgCutlerNiagara FallsPrescott
AultsvilleDepot HarbourOjibwaRainy River
BathDeserontoParry SoundRockport
BellevilleErie BeachPictonSarnia
Blind RiverFort EriePigeon River BridgeSault Ste Marie
BridgeburgFort FrancesPoint EdwardSombra
BrightonFort WilliamPort ArthurThessalon
BrockvilleGananoquePort BurwellToronto
Bruce MinesGoderichPort ColborneTrenton
CobourgGore BayPort DalhousieWalkerville
CollingwoodIroquoisPort DoverWallaceburg
CornwallKingstonPort HopeWalpole Island
CourtrightLittle CurrentPort LambtonWindmill Point
Crystal BeachMorrisburgPort StanleyWindsor
Wolf Island
New Brunswick
AndoverDebec JunctionGrand MananNorth HeadSt Stephen
Aroostook JunctionEdmundstonGreen RiverRichmond Road/CornerUpper Mills
CentrevilleFair HavenLeteteSt AndrewsWelshpool
ConnorsFostervilleMcAdam JunctionSt HilaireWilsons Beach
ClairGrand FallsMilltownSt LéonardWoodstock
Nova Scotia
Clements Port
Port Hawkesbury
ArmstrongFrelighsburgLacolle JunctionStanhope
AthelstanGeorgevilleMagogStanstead Junction
Beebe JunctionHemmingfordMansonvilleSt Armand
CoaticookHerefordMeganticSt Johns
Comins MillsHighwaterNoyan JunctionSt Regis
DundeeHuntingdon/St AgnesPaquetteville
Big MuddyNorth PortalWest Poplar River
East Poplar RiverNorthgateWillow Creek
MarienthalRadvilleWood Mountain
Forty Mile
New York
Rouses Point
St Albans

December 9, 2018

Home District Land Certificates 1787 to 1795

H 1140 Edward Strickland Image 235
I have been going through Heir & Devisee Commission Papers (Heir & Devisee Commission papers 1797-1854 digitized records to create a working corrected Finding Aid. You may view the corrected content lists at Heir & Devisee Commission 

While scrolling through  microfilm H 1140 in order to correct's flawed content description, I came across a set of Land Certificates and other documents from individuals living in what was called the Home District. This consisted of land along Lake Ontario and the Niagara region of Ontario.

Image 215 Index to Names Image 215, 216 Home District Land Certificates 1787 to 1795. Index of Names

These can be viewed by going to film H 1140 and selecting the image numbers shown below for each claimant

  • Image 217 Elias Anderson 1795
  • Image 218 Patrick Bern born Ireland 1795
  • Image 219  Eli Cahoe age 18 born Pennsylvania 1795
  • Image 220, 221 George Campbell 1794
  • Image 222 Joshua Chamberlain age 63 born USA 1795
  • Image 223 Joshua Chamberlain age 18 born New Hampshire 1795
  • Image 224 Zekiel Chamberlain age 21 born Boston 1795
  • Image 225 Benjamin Davis Long island New York age 46, 1795
  • Image 226 Abraham Devans  of New York age 33 1795
  • Image 227 Isaac Devans  of New York age 24 1795
  • Image 228 Levi Devans  of New York age 20 1795
  • Image 229 Joseph Dean age 44 of Pennsylvania 1795
  • Image 230 Sam Herron 1794
  • Image 231 John McHenry Born Antrim age 39 1795
  • Image 232 Patrick McKee age 26 born Ireland 1795
  • Image 233 Jacob Phillips born New York age 25 1795
  • Image 234 Samuel Street 1794
  • Image 235 Edward Strickland born Cumberland England age 34 1795
  • Image 236 petition of George Braytons
  • Image 237 two miscellaneous names James Hennessey and Andrew Herron 1808
  • Image 238, 239 James Hennessey 1808
  • Image 240 Andrew Heron 1808
  • Image 241 Samuel Leatch1795
  • Image 242, 243 Thomas Otway Page
  • Image 244 Samuel Stevenson 1816

December 7, 2018

Border Crossings From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935

Border Crossings From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935 at are often overlooked as a valuable genealogical database. 

This database contains records of immigrants crossing into Canada from the United States between 1908 and 1935. These records consist of border entry lists and Form 30 (individual entry forms). Information recorded in these records may include: name of immigratn, port of arrival, date of arrival, age, gender, country of citizenship, birthplace, marital status, and last permanent address.

On average, the border entry lists recorded 10-20 people per page. Form 30 was an individual form and therefore was able to record more significant genealogical information about each individual. Although the use of Form 30 officially ended in 1924, there are some records of this form that date to later years.

The amount of information recorded in these records varies according to form type and year. Form 30 consists of two images – a front and a back side. The majority of the information is recorded on the front side, but there is also important information recorded on the back. Use the previous and next buttons in the image viewer to navigate between these images. The back side may sometimes appear before, instead of after, the front.

This is a terrific addition to their existing Border Crossings: Canadian Border Crossings, 1895-1956 and Detroit Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905-1957

Form 30A

Between 1919 and 1924 the Department of Immigration and Colonization introduced the use of the Form 30A as the official record of immigration.
Form 30A usually included the following details:
  • name of ship;
  • date of sailing;
  • port and date of arrival;
  • name;
  • age;
  • occupation;
  • birthplace;
  • race;
  • citizenship;
  • religion;
  • destination; and
  • name of the nearest relative in the country from which the immigrant came.

Form 30A, Border Entry Records, 1919-1924 are not indexed at the LAC. To use these records more efficiently, view the list of microfilm numbers and what each one contains

You can also search the INDEX to these records on

December 5, 2018

Home District Land Claims 1803 & 1804

Home District Land Claims 1803-1804
H 1140 Image 253
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 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 going through those digitized records to create a working corrected Finding Aid. You may view the corrected content lists on Olive Tree Genealogy website at Heir & Devisee Commission 

While scrolling through  microfilm H 1140 in order to correct's flawed content description, I came across a set of Land Certificates and other documents from individuals living in what was called the Home District. This consisted of land along Lake Ontario and the Niagara region of Ontario.

Continuing on from  Home District Land Certificates 1787 to 1795 and An index to Niagara area Loyalists and their Land Certificates here is the start of my list of names of claimants for land in the Home District from 1803-1804. Each name has an image number beside it so that you can easily click through to that image to view the claims and any supporting documents.

H 1140 Image 321
Images 250–253 index to claimant names. These images have lists of names of claimants. Note that often it is the attorney's name on the index and not the petitioner or claimant. The claimants' names can be viewed in my list below.  Please also note that I cannot guarantee my interpretation of the names in these documents. The writing is often difficult to read or the image is blurry.

The following images are the actual certificates, claims and other documents

  • Image 254, 255 claim of Robert Isaac dey Gray, 1802
  • Image 256 Hannah McBride widow of John
  • Image 257, 258 claim number five
  • Image 259 William Jones
  • Image 260 William Bowkett
  • Image 261 William Bokette and Sarah H----- want to marry, 1799.
  • Image 262 Joseph Hunt 1802
  • Image 263 Joseph Hunt
  • Image 264, 265 William Allen 1802
  • Image 266 John Everson
  • Image 267 Abner Mills
  • Image 268 Thomas Berry and John McBride
  • Image 269 Thomas Barry and Richard Lawrence
  • Image 270–273 Richard Lawrence
  • Image 274–275 Richard Beasley for the heirs of Thomas Berry
  • Image 276-278 Abner Mills (Miles?) 1803
  • Image 279 – 284 David Saban of Whitchurch and Abner Mills or Miles I
  • Image 235 Joachim Luran of Markham 1804
  • Image 286 Daniel Herrick of Markham and Harry McClary
  • Image 287 William Cooper 1803
  • Image 288 Isaac Davis 1801
  • Image 289–291 Thomas Hamilton 1803
  • Image 292–294 William Allen and Isaac Horton
  • Image 295 --- Tiffany of Ancastor 1803
  • Image 296 George Purvis 
  • Image 297 Aime Michel Fortier 1803
  • Image 298 George Purvis
  • Image 299–300 John Reiley
  • Image 301 William Weikes 1803
  • Image 302 William Emery
  • Image 303 Christian Horning of Markham 1803
  • Image 304–305 William Weeks
  • Image 306–307 Isaac Hollingshead 1802
  • Image 308–309 Deed  of Benjamin Hale and Elizabeth Murray to Isaac Todd 1804
  • Image 310–313 the late Duncan Murray, Lieutenant in 34th Regiment, Lincoln County
  • Image 314 Isaac Todd of Montréal and Elizabeth Murray
  • Image 315–319 Jean Baptiste Rousseau of Ancastor, Estate and inheritance, 1803
  • Image 320 Duncan Cameron 1803
  • Image 321–322 Elizabeth Murray daughter of the late Duncan Murray & sister of deceased John Murray,  Isabella Murray widow of Duncan Murray, Isaac Todd, Joseph Edwards
  • Image 323 Elizabeth Murray
  • Image 324 Richard Ferguson of Vaughan Township
  • Image 325 William Weeks, Daniel Laughlin
  • Image 326 James Crane, 1803
  • Image 327–332 Daniel Laughlin
  • Image 333 Patrick Boon or Bern of Markham, Wheelwright, 1804
  • Image 334–336 William Weeks
  • Image 337–338 Jean Baptiste Bouchette to William Church
  • Image 339 William Chewitt 1804
  • Image 340 Peter McGregor 1803
  • Image 341 James McGregor of Markham

December 3, 2018

Don't Let Family Lore Lead You Astray!

Olive Tree Genealogy had an interesting question from Shannah about her grandfather.  My research findings point out the need to take family lore with a grain of salt and not accept it as gospel.

Here is Shannah's email:

I have been trying to find out where my Grfa., TWISS, William James, had "landed" for over ten years, to no avail, from Cty. Cork, Ireland to New York, USA..  He was a mere 17 year old, at the time.  
The story I was told was that it was my Grfa. who had left Cork, Ireland, from Sept. to December of 1887 (I believe these are the months) on the Barque Julia, from Edinburough to Cork and to New York.  This particular Barque was a ship of supplies and the Captain was a friend of my Gr-Grpars., TWISS, Francis Edward Day, Sr..  It was my Grfa. who had suggested that he, himself, come out to Canada, first and they allowed it but he must go with someone they knew.  It was only a few days' trip and have researched into several ports along the eastern coast to no avail.  When he had landed, he had stayed with friends of his parents., (never knew who they were) Francis Edward Day and Ellen THOMPSON, in New York for a while then travelled up into BINBROOK, Wentworth Cty., Ontario, Canada to stay with our cousins/family there while his own parents. arrived through Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the following springtime.

First I made a summary of the important statements in Shannah's email:

1. William James Twiss was born ca 1870 Ireland immigrated to N. America on the ship Julia in 1887
2. William's parents Francis Edward Day & Ellen Twiss sailed to Montreal Quebec in spring of 1888

Making a note of these statements  does not mean I accepted them as fact. It was obvious they were family lore passed on through the generations. 
After searching on in census records to gain a better understanding of the Twiss family group, their names, ages and residence, I knew that Francis Edward went by Edward, when he was born, his given year of immigration and that he was in British Columbia from 1891 census on.

Turning to the Immigration records on it did not take long to find Edward, his wife Ellen and 3 daughters sailing from Cobh, Ireland on the ship Peruvian. The Peruvian made stops at three ports: Baltimore Maryland, St. John Newfoundland and Halifax Nova Scotia. Beside the names of Edward and his family was the notation that they were headed to Victoria (British Columbia) Their arrival date was September 4, 1888. It is not clear if the family left the ship at St. John or Halifax but I suggest it was most likely Halifax. From there they could continue their journey to British Columbia.


Don't Let Family Lore Lead You Astray!
TWISS family on Ship Peruvian September 1888

This is a typical example of family stories becoming mixed up over the years. My suggestion to Shannah for continuing the search for William is that she extend her year of immigration by 5 years on either side and not assume the ship name of Julia is correct.  She should also look for William in the 1891 census and all census years after that. The 1901 census provides an immigration year but she should still allow 5 years on either side of whatever is recorded. 

Clue for Shannah: In 1891 your grandfather is recorded as James W. Twiss and he is found with his parents and sisters in Victoria B.C. He is mis-indexed on as the son of a Thomas Stephens but the image clearly shows him in the Twiss family. It's always wise to ignore the index information if a search result seems like a good possibility - always check the actual image if there is one.

December 1, 2018

Free Ships Passenger Lists & Naturalization Records

Visitors to Olive Tree Genealogy often ask me for a list of all the free ships passenger lists I have published online. My site is quite large and can take time to navigate to find the records, so I understand why there can be some confusion.

In hopes this might help genealogists, I've compiled a list of the free passenger lists and naturalization records on my sites.

Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Missing Friends The Missing Friends Project is abstracting the names of those who immigrated from UK to America or Canada and who were inquired about by family in various 19th Century newspapers. 
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Passenger Books of J & J Cooke, Shipping Agents sailings from Londonderry Ireland to Quebec, St. John New Brunswick, New Orleans Louisiana and Pennsylvania from 1847 to 1871
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Pennsylvania Baggage Lists 1809 
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database New York Almshouse Records 1819 to 1840 contain the names of the ship each person sailed on, plus dates of arrival. Includes arrivals in Canadian ports
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database  Emigrants from England in New York City Almshouse 1818-1830 - 254 names of English immigrants to Canada & USA including the name of the ship they sailed on.
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database New York Almshouse Records 1855 to 1858 contain the name of the ship and the arrival date and port for each person.
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database List of those who died while in Staten Island Quarantine May 1849 - Dec. 1850 (not available at this time but coming back online soon)
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Names of Emigrants from 1845-1847 from the Records of James Allison, Emigrant Agent at Montreal Quebec Canada
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Return of Emigrants Landed at the Port of Kingston Ontario, Canada (1861-1882) 
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Peter Robinson Settlers sailing 1823 & 1825 Ireland to Canada
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database English to America 1617-1778 Child Apprentices in America from Christ's Hospital, London England (not available at this time but coming back online soon)
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database English Immigrants to USA 1773-1776
 Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Poor Irish to England Includes Ports of Departure & Arrival plus number of years in England or Scotland. Over 1,600 names
(not available at this time but coming back online soon)
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Irish Emigration Lists, 1833-1839 Lists of Emigrants Extracted from the Ordnance Survey Memoirs from Counties Londonderry and Antrim
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Passenger Lists from the New York Times (Arrivals & Departures)1851-1929 (coming back soon)
  Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database New Netherland Ships Passenger Lists Project Lists of those sailing from The Netherlands to New Netherland (now New York) 1654-1664 came from the West India Company Account Book and consist only of names of those who owed for their passage. There is no published record of those who paid for passage before leaving. Olive Tree Genealogy has reconstructed several passenger lists for these ships using other primary sources.

Naturalization & Citizenship Records

Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Naturalization Records Naturalization Records in the USA & Canada. Includes searchable Naturalization Records, Declarations of Intent, Certificates of Citizenship
Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database USA Passport Applications
Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database USA Alien Registrations
Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database USA Oaths of Allegiance
Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database USA Voters Registrations
Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database Canadian Passport Records