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October 31, 2019

Now's Your Chance! AncestryDNA Sale Starts Today

Holiday Sale:

This sale will start at 9:00pm PST on Thursday, October 31st and will end at 9:00pm PST on Wednesday, November 27th - the day before Thanksgiving.

Ancestry® Family Gift Subscriptions will be 20% off

What's the Average Age of Death for Your Ancestors?

It's Hallowe'en. What could be more fun than to take a good look at your ancestors' deaths?

I decided to list hubs' ancestors' death ages  and causes of death going back 6 generations - for those whose age at death I knew.

Here are 41 ancestors' ages at death and cause of death where known. The average age at death was 69.36 years with the youngest being 35 and the oldest 96

Not sure I like seeing all those heart issues.... of 41 ancestors 12 died from heart issues and strokes.

Next I did 5 generations of my ancestors. I only had 28 ancestors I could use and the average age of death was 72.07. The youngest was 32, the oldest 93.

The most common cause of death was old age (5 of 28) and I have a variety of death issues showing for my ancestors.

I find it interesting to tabulate and analyze data like this. What is the average age of your ancestors' deaths in the last 5 to 6 generations.

Happy Hallowe'en!

October 28, 2019

The Power of Needlework in Story Telling

Source: Victoria and Albert Museum
Recently on Twitter, @womensart1 posted an image of a sampler with the following information

"1830 sampler sewn by a young female servant, UK, Elizabeth Parker recounting abuse she suffered as a typically vulnerable young working-class women employed in a household far from family, and the power of needlework as a form of women’s writing" 

I was intrigued. This was such a powerful and painstaking way for Elizabeth to tell her story in a somewhat permanent fashion and being curious (as all genealogists are!) decided to track down the rest of her story. What I found was fascinating and troubling.

From the Victoria and Albert Museum we learn "Elizabeth recounts the story of her early life, and draws us in from the start, with the words 'As I cannot write I put this down simply and freely as I might speak to a person to whose intimacy and tenderness I can fully intrust myself.' We read that she was born in 1813 and lived with her parents, a labourer and a charity school teacher, and her ten brothers and sisters until the age of 13"

Elizabeth's painstaking efforts to immortalize her tragic life in servitude ends with this final sentence "what will become of my soul" – followed by blank space. For many years her adult life was not known - did she as she once hinted she would, commit suicide? Or did she live on to old age? Now her story is known and can be read at Victoria and Albert Museum

October 25, 2019

Using JSTOR, an Overlooked Genealogy Resource

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. According to a Twitter friend Finding Folk (@maki_ellen) journals often post obituaries of members.

With a personal JSTOR account, you can read 6 articles per month for free. I joined and then searched using the term "obituary" to see what I could find. 

Here's an example from Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, Vol. 96, No. 4756 (NOVEMBER 21st, 1947), p. 22 (1 page) - the obituary of Sir Alexander MacCormick born in Scotland 1856.

I'll definitely be spending more time on JSTOR in the future!

October 23, 2019

Poor Law Records on Oxfordshire County Council Heritage Search

Oxfordshire County Council Heritage Search is my new find! If you have Oxfordshire ancestors you will want to check this out. For example I searched "removal order" (without using a surname) and got 500 hits in Oxfordshire History Centre - Poor Law Name Index

This is an index of individuals and families named in the Oxfordshire Poor Law records, 1601-1861.

This index contains details of named individuals derived from records created in the administration of the Poor Law in Oxfordshire. The Poor Law was the system for providing a form of social security in operation in England from the 16th century until 1834. Individual parishes were responsible for administering the Poor Law and maintaining paupers and their families. The main types of records created were settlement examinations and certificates, removal orders, bastardy bonds, and apprenticeship indentures. Surviving examples of these records for Oxfordshire parishes are held at the Oxfordshire History Centre.

Also see the Poor Law Union Records online on Olive Tree Genealogy

23 ship names were given with the names of passengers on board. This is a first for most of these ships as no full passenger list is known to exist. Included in this Poor Law Union Immigrants to Canada Project are the names of emigrants for a 15 year period - no ship names were recorded but the researcher may be able to use the dates and years provided to compare with a list of known ship passages to Canada.

October 21, 2019

Oklahoma birth and death records are now searchable online at Ok2Explore
Ok2Explore is a free searchable index of births and deaths that occurred in the state of Oklahoma. Included is limited information on births occurring more than 20 years ago and deaths occurring more than 5 years ago. Indexes are updated each month.

The State of Oklahoma began filing records in 1908, however it was not required by law until 1917. 

Births The earliest birth record on file is 1865.

Deaths The earliest death record on file is 1908.

Visitors to the site may search the index using any combination of the subject’s name, date of event (birth or death), county of event, and sex of the subject.If you find a record of interest you can order a copy online.

October 18, 2019

Found an Ancestor in St. Marys Churchyard Brixham Devon

I just found an ancestor on a site Cowtown Brixham Graveyard that I didn't know existed until today.My 5th great-grandfather William Norman was buried in St. Mary's Church graveyard in Brixham Devon in 1836.

Brixham is divided into two halves, Lower Brixham, known as ‘Fish Town’ and Higher Brixham, known as ‘Cow Town’. Lower Brixham is a working fishing port which many people know as ‘the town of Brixham’. Higher Brixham was the original rural Saxon settlement. A thriving Victorian farming community developed centred around its medieval parish church of St. Mary’s.

A full database search engine website grant was funded by the Heritage Lottery. The database consists of all memorial inscriptions found in St Mary's church and grave yard in 2019. 13,000 names have been entered on the project register.
This is my ancestor's information and next I hope to spot a photo of his tombstone on the section of the site with images.
  • Surname NORMAN
  • First Name WILLIAM
  • Date of Death 21/01/1836
  • Age 80
  • Relationship HUSBAND OF ANN NORMAN
  • Plot PLOT 7 O04
If you are looking for births, marriages or deaths, see Featured Database Brixham Devon Church Records

There is more information photographs, family histories, walks etc on the Cowtown St Mary's 1850-1900 Project on Facebook. 

October 16, 2019

Female Denisovan Face Reconstructed via DNA

It was recently discovered that ancient humans called Denisovans once lived alongside Neanderthals. In 2012 a Denisovan genome was sequenced and it was found that their genes still live in the DNA of some Asians, Australians and Melanesians.

These early humans interbred with Neanderthals and other early humans. Thus their DNA lives on. Through DNA, researchers were able to predict  Denisovan appearance and now a young female Denisovan face has been reconstructed.

See her face, and read more at This is what mysterious ancient humans might have looked like

October 14, 2019

Finding Ancestors in Hearth Taxes

Hearth tax assessments 1667 Essex UK

Hearth Tax Digital is an online searchable database of Hearth Tax records in the United Kingdom. It is an ongoing project and is updated as new counties are completed. You will find both transcripts and databases available.

The website explains Hearth Taxes as:

Hearth taxes were levied in medieval and early modern Europe, notably in France and the Low Countries, but were not levied in the British Isles until the late seventeenth century. Following the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, the hearth tax was levied in England and Wales from 1662 until 1689 (it continued to be collected in Ireland until the early nineteenth century). It was charged according to the number of fireplaces in dwellings, and it was collected twice each year at one shilling per hearth. It was also levied in Scotland in 1691 with collection lasting until 1695. The hearth tax provides a remarkably rich series of records on population, wealth distribution and poverty in a period of key political, social and economic change.  

The site is maintained by the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (University of Graz, Austria) and Centre for Hearth Tax Research (University of Roehampton, UK) and supported by the British Academy.

October 11, 2019

A New Look for Canadian Military Heritage

Canadian Military Project is another site I've revamped with a new navigation system and content. The new site is two older sites merged into one clean easy-to-navigate site at
The Canadian Military Heritage Project is dedicated to presenting Canadian military history ~ the wars, uprisings and conflicts in which Canadians participated. Our pages provide historical background as well as genealogy records for each conflict.
These pages will be of interest to educators, students, genealogists, military historians and those who are interested in the stories of the participants themselves.

October 8, 2019

A New Look for

I've finally taken the plunge and have been working very hard on redoing and moving my many websites. Two are now online and I'm pretty excited to share them with you. I've removed dead links and stale content, and replaced those with fresh content and links. I've also designed new navigation (menu) systems to make it easier for visitors to find what they want.

First up is Past Voices. It is still at  Past Voices gives our ancestors a voice – and these voices from the past come alive in their letters. Many letters on Past Voices are from soldiers far from home. Nothing tells the true reality of war more than the simple writings of the common soldier. These poignant letters from lonely men to their mothers, wives or sweethearts will touch your heart.

Check it out for yourself - perhaps you'll find an ancestor's letter or postcard waiting for you!

October 4, 2019

Ancestor Most Wanted Charles Fuller

1841 Census Lenham
Here is my Number 1 of 10 Genealogy Mysteries: My great-great grandfather Charles Fuller. When and where he was born is anyone's guess. Here is what the U.K. census takers recorded during his lifetime spent in Lenham Kent England:

1841 census Lenham - Charles age 14 (b. 1825) - no birth location given in 1841 but I believe this is my ancestor
1851 census Lenham - Charles age 23/25 b Faversham (b 1826)
1861 census Lenham - Charles age 32 b. Milton (b 1829)
1871 census Lenham -  Charles age 44 b Faversham (b 1827)
1881 census Lenham -  Charles age 52 b. Lenham (b1829)
1891 census Lenham-  Charles age 60 b Frinsted (b 1831)  

THE KNOWN  Here is what I know about Charles: Marriage of Baptisms in St. Mary's Parish Church, Lenham. Entry #221:

Oct 17, 1858: Charles Fuller, of age, bachelor, labourer in Lenham. Father: John Fuller, labourer. Charles married Georgiana Golding, minor, spinster in Lenham.  Father of Georgiana given as George Norris, labourer. Married in the Parish church after banns. Witnesses: George & Sarah Earl. Neither groom, bride nor witnesses were literate, all signing with their marks.Marriage Cert. Parish of Lenham, Hollingbourne District, Kent.

1861-1891 census is definitely my ancestor.
1851 is almost certainly him as he is living quite near Georgiana Golding who later became his wife

I believe Charles died in the last quarter of 1892. His age was given as 68 giving him a year of birth of 1824.   


1826 Baptism of Charles Fuller

I suggest my ancestor is the  Charles FULLER, baptised 31 Oct 1826, Faversham, Kent to John & Winifred FULLER  In 1830 Winnifred died. In 1839 John Fuller remarried to Sophia. In the 1841 census where I found the boy I believe is my Charles, he is living with a "mother" Sophia and a younger sister Harriet.

One of the clues that led me to formulating the theory that my Charles was the Charles baptised to John and Winnifred is the name "Mene" and others which repeat in the generations. John and Winnifred named their children
  • Mene 
  • Mary Ann 
  • Sarah 
  • Joseph 
  • John
  • Philadelphia
  • Henry
  • Edward
  • Harriet
  • James
  • Frederick
  • Charles
My ancestor Charles and his wife Georgiana named their children
  • Frederick
  • Elizabeth
  • Harriet
  • Martha Ann
  • Charles *my ancestor - see photo below
  • Alfred
  • Mene
  • Edward John 
  • Walter
  • Albert Henry 
For some of the children I do not have middle names but I have highlighted the names that repeat in Charles' children.

Charles Fuller son of Charles & Georgiana with wife Mary Ann Norman Caspall

What I am hoping to find is proof that the Charles baptised in 1826 to John and Winnifred is my ancestor.

Do my readers have suggestions, ideas or thoughts? 

October 2, 2019

1891 Canada Census Abbreviations

Recently a member of an online group posed a very interesting question. She asked "Does anyone know what the initials, "s.a." in the religion column stand for on the 1891 Canadian Census?"

S.A. is not found on the official list of abbreviations to be used by the 1891 census takers. So what could it mean?

The general consensus of the group was that S.A. stood for "Salvation Army" Does anyone else have any ideas?