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September 30, 2019

Found: A Book that Survived a Bomb Blast in 1940

ABC Adelaide posted on their Facebook page and I thought I'd help share this through my Olive Tree Genealogy blog and Social Media.

Can you help us find the owner or family of this book that survived a bomb blast - probably during the Battle of Britain in the UK? 
Megan Dubois is a book collector who found this rare find in a second-hand store in Cleve so if you know any Goddard’s who used to live around Cleve, or perhaps a McLellen or McHellen family who came out to Australia after World War 2, we’d love to hear from you! 

The inscription reads, "I bought this book in 1935 for 1/- it was in our house when a land mine dropped on it in 1940 Oct 18. I rescued it from the rubble and have used it ever since, I also had a cookery book from the same edition which my daughter Dian McLellen (Possibly McHellen) has. Joyce Goddard (Mrs) 1985."

September 27, 2019

What Strange Inscriptions Have You Seen on a Photo?

Photo Detective posed an interesting question on her Facebook page: "What's the strangest thing you've ever seen written on a family photo?"

I have a few vague or humourous inscriptions on photos but my favourite is this photo on the left with the inscription:

"Merchant Maulsby, cousin Matilda’s father the meanest man that ever lived"
I also like this inscription on an 1860s cartes de visite (CDV) of Lydia Edwards. She does look ill or at the very least, depressed.
"Lydia Edwards, Grandfather’s wife and a great invalid" 
What are some of the unusual writings you've ever found on an old photo? 

September 25, 2019

Searchable Illinois Physcian Database Online

James Craig Small 1917
The Illinois State Archives is happy to announce that the Physician Database is now available on CyberDriveIllinois

The database consists of more than 62,700 physicians and surgeons who registered for license with the Illinois State Board of Health and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. The records span August 1877 to February 17, 1937.

The database contains more than 62,700 names of physicians or surgeons. Entries include the physician’s full name; certificate number issued; the known counties where the physician resided; year of registration or certificate issuance; and the volume and page numbers of the register where the physician’s entry appeared. Beginning in September 1898, the line number on the register page containing the entry is also listed. The date of birth for each physician or surgeon is included starting in 1924. Register entries occasionally listed multiple registration dates, counties, or ages for some physicians or surgeons.

Each database entry contains a link to the image of the register pages containing the physician’s entry.Here is the entry for the image above

Name James Craig Small
Certificate Number 12787
Line Number 7
Original Volume & Page #'s V. 11, n.p.
Year of License 1917
Residence/Location (Illinois Counties Listed) Cook

September 23, 2019

A New Leaf TV Show Starts Oct 5th!

Host Daisy Fuentes is taking ordinary people on an emotional journey to help them discover more about their family’s origins. Who will add A New Leaf to their family tree?

From A New Leaf Facebook page:

A New Leaf will follow everyday people on the cusp of key life inflection points, using family history, genealogy, and sometimes DNA analysis to help guide them on their journey of self discovery. Along the way, viewers will learn about different cultures as our featured guest uncovers new information about their family's heritage. Each week, A New Leaf will teach viewers the importance of appreciating and understanding their family history in order to make important decisions to enact positive changes in their lives.

Catch the Series Premiere on NBC on Saturday, October 5th!

September 20, 2019

Listowel Ontario Photo Album Found

Shelley C. posted on the Ontario Genealogy Facebook page:

I've "rescued" an old photograph album that belonged to the STRACHAN Family from Ontario, Canada. The album includes photographs of:

Jim STRACHAN (2 photos)
Margaret PENOYER
Hugh & Maggie STRACHAN
Tom & George STRACHAN
+ six unidentified photographs

The photographs were taken in Listowel, Ontario, Canada; Watkins, NY; Canandaigua, NY; and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in the 1870's through 1900's.

If you know the family you can either contact Shelley through Facebook or leave a comment on this post and I will see that she receives it.

September 18, 2019

125 Year Old Letter Found in Floorboards

"A letter written in 1894 and found between the linoleum and floor boards of a house being demolished to make way for Hobart's State Library will finally be returned to the author's family." ABC News

The letter was written by Sidney Hulbert on May 13, 1894 while he was in Sydney Australia and was found by Rex Nightingale during construction. He held on to the letter for 60 years and then turned to Social Media to find descendants. After being posted to ABC Facebook pages in both Hobart and Sydney, the letter was identified by its author's grand-niece Robyn Lobb.

Continue reading 125 year old letter found under floor to be returned to writer's family after social media search

September 16, 2019

Archives of Michigan New Website!

The Archives of Michigan new site,, is now live! They have many upcoming items of interest to genealogists. For example this is what they say about Michigan death records which are currently searchable from 1921 to 1947:

Over the next months this collection will grow to include death certificates from 1897 to 1952. Death certificates from 1897 to 1943 will display full images while 1944 to 1952 will only provide index information. Once these certificates are older than seventy-five years, the images will be added.

You can also volunteer to help index Michigan Naturalization records

Naturalization is the process by which a person born outside the United States becomes an American citizen. Citizenship records can provide a wealth of information to family historians. The amount of information varies by year, but can include the date and location of a person’s birth, occupation, immigration year, marital status and spouse information, the names and addresses of the people who witnessed the naturalization ceremony and more. 

September 14, 2019

New BDM for New Brunswick online!

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick recently added more records to their searchable Vital Records database

As of September 12, 2019 there are 1,007,301 birth, death & marriage records online consisting of the following:

IndexDescriptionYearsRecordsLast updated
141A1b Index to Late Registration of Births 1810-1923 111,915 2019-09-09
141A1c Index to Late Registration of Births: County Series 1869-1901 2,294 2019-09-10
141A2/2 Index to County Birth Registers 1800-1919 87,950 2019-09-10
141A5 Index to Provincial Registrations of Births 1870-1923 158,708 2019-09-03
IndexDescriptionYearsRecordsLast updated
141B7 Index to New Brunswick Marriages 1847-1968 280,000 2019-09-12
IndexDescriptionYearsRecordsLast updated
141C1 Index to County Death Registers 1885-1921 40,447 2019-08-07
141C4 Provincial Returns of Deaths 1815-1919 84,191 2019-08-12
141C5 Index to Death Certificates 1918-1968 241,796 2019-09-12

September 9, 2019

Search for Ancestors in Insane Asylums

Sometimes our ancestors ended up in Insane Asylums not because they were insane but for other reasons - post partum depression in women, menopause, depression... any number of occurrences could land an individual in an asylum.

Olive Tree Genealogy has an Insane Asylum section which includes England, Scotland, Australia and Canada. One database in particular may be of interest to Canadian genealogists.

Toronto Insane Asylum 1841 ABSTRACT of PATIENTS admitted, discharged, and remaining in the temporary Lunatic Asylum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada from January 21st to July 31st, inclusive, 1841 

September 6, 2019

Introducing The Photo Alchemist!

Olive Tree Genealogy is thrilled to introduce my readers to Claudia D'Souza aka The Photo Alchemist. I first noticed Claudia's amazing restorations and colourization of ancestor photos a few months ago. 

Read Claudia's story and visit her website at

I have watched the video of Claudia colourizing a photo at least a dozen times. I'm fascinated by her technique and in awe of the finished product.  And now ... Claudia's story below

In 2009, I started researching my family history. Soon I was diving into the fortunes and misfortunes of my ancestors.

I marvelled at the explorer life of German great grandad Frederick, whose father was a founding member of the now extinct German Club in Burma, and who was forced to flee to India, and leave all his wealth behind, following the invasion of the Japanese; I cried as I unravelled the tragic life of British great grandma Jayne who, by the age of 23, had already buried three husbands and my heart broke while trying to discover the mysterious origins of Portuguese Grandfather Candido, who was abandoned at a doorstep of a rich doctor, on a cold Christmas Eve.

Claudia at The Genealogy Show in Birmingham England

Photographs became a huge part of my newly found obsession. If records, letters and documents are the bones of a family history, photos are without doubt the flesh. However, I was sad to find that photos were scarce, and often in very bad condition. I searched for restoration services, but they all required me to part with my precious originals, and there was no way on earth I was prepared to do that!

So, combining my advanced IT skills with my Fashion History passion and Art skills, I started exploring and developing ways of not only restoring and retouching old photos, but also adding carefully researched colour, enabling us to see our ancestors, just like they saw themselves and each other.
Knowing Grandfather Candido was abandoned on Christmas Eve felt 100 times more vivid, once I restored and colourised his photo and looked into his profound, sorrowful brown eyes.  Seeing the face of great grandma Jayne in colour, showed me a strong woman with whom suddenly I felt a deep connection even though we never met!

In 2017, I started interacting with genealogists across the world via social media and, after sharing one of my pieces online, I was flooded with requests for help with old photos. Realising I could help others and feed my passion, I quit my job as a Marketing Director and launched “The Photo Alchemist”.

Now I spend my days digitally bringing to life photos from clients all over the world, without the need for them to part with their precious originals. But the best part of my job is getting to know other people’s family histories, being trusted with their precious family photos, and playing a small part in keeping their legacies alive.

TWITTER: @Dsouza_Claudia

September 4, 2019

Women’s Travel Diaries 1827-1991

Thanks to FamilyTreeMagazine for posting that Duke University has a digital collection of historic women's travel diaries available online. 
The diaries in this digital collection were written by British and American women who documented their travels to places around the globe, including India, the West Indies, countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as around the United States. 
There are over 100 diaries of varying length, selected from several archival collections at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

September 1, 2019

Online Images Boston Pilot Missing Friends

Boston Pilot (1838-1857)
Volume XI, Number 41, 7 October 1848
Run, don't walk, to view the online pages of The Boston Pilot  at Boston College Libraries to match your ancestor found in my Missing Friends Project.

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. 

Missing Friends Project starts with Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, published in London England and their weekly column (1886-1900) called "Long Lost Relatives". We also have begun extracting names of those in the Boston Pilot, published in Boston Massachusetts (1831-1921).

Our Boston Pilot project is only extracting the names of missing Irish individuals who sailed to Canada. It is important to note that many who sailed first to Canada went on to USA and are so noted in the extracts. Many of the relatives and friends seeking them were based in USA and their location is also given.

Available online: 27 January 1838 - 26 December 1857 (996 issues)