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January 30, 2020

Think Outside the Box When Looking for a Ship's Passenger List

Charlene G. sent Olive Tree Genealogy an email asking about Ships Passenger Lists from Ireland in the 1840s. I think my answer to her question (below) may be of interest to other genealogists

I am specifically looking for Irish passenger ship records from 1845-1847, the probably year(s) that my great-great grandparents immigrated to the United States.  For many years I have been searching  Irish passenger ships arriving at the port of New York.  Because Ellis Island was not yet established, I assume my Irish great-great grandparents entered the U.S. via Castle Garden.  Can you tell me if ALL ship passenger records for the years 1845-1847 have been transcribed? 
Lorine's Answer: First let me clear up some possible confusion. Ellis Island and Castle Garden were processing centers. The port of arrival was New York and that is the arrival port you want to look for if you are positive your ancestor arrived via New York. You will not find ships lists giving a port of arrival as "Ellis Island" or "Castle Garden" since they were simply the processing areas used at different time periods for arrivals in the port of New York.

The short answer to your last question is YES. All known ships passenger lists arriving in New York have been transcribed, indexed and are found on Ancestry . If you are searching the Castle Garden website be aware that it includes arrivals in  ports other than New York and as far as I know, it is not complete for the port of New York.

If you are unable to find your ancestors, be sure you search other ports of arrival. Also you might wish to look for ships arriving in Canada as it was much cheaper to come in that way than go directly to America. Just be aware that before 1865 ships arriving in Canadian ports did not have to keep their passenger lists. But there are alternate lists you can search. See Filling in The Gaps for help.

You should also be sure you are using wildcards if you are searching on Ancestry  . The early ships passenger lists are often difficult to read and your ancestor's surname might be badly mangled or misread. Try widening your search parameters too. Leave out first names. Use only a surname (with wildcards to pick up variant spellings such as SM*TH* which would get results for SMITH, SMYTH, SMYTHE etc. ) and an approximate year of birth.

January 27, 2020

Helping African Americans Find Lost Ancestor

1864 Reciept for Shoes for Slaves
The Names of 1.8 Million Emancipated Slaves Are Now Searchable.

The Freedman’s Bureau Project and FamilySearch allows African Americans to recover their family history in a database that now includes “the names of nearly 1.8 million men, women and children” recorded by Freedman’s Bureau workers and entered by Freedman’s Bureau Project volunteers 150 years later. 

This database will give millions of people descended from both former slaves and white Civil War refugees the ability to find their ancestors.

Read more at Open Culture

January 25, 2020

Online Search Engines are a Genealogist's Friend

Diane wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with this question

These 2 ancestors [William and Martha Medcalf] emigrated from Ireland to Ontario Canada in 1819 with 10 children we think. They are from Delgany, Country Wicklow but have not been able to access any information about them before coming to Canada. Much appreciated for any suggestions.

Diane - this is where Google is your friend (or any other search engine you prefer). A quick search using search terms "delgany ireland church records" brought several results indicating that these records are online.

I downloaded the PDF files for the transcribed records of THE PARISH REGISTERS OF CHRIST CHURCH, DELGANY VOLUME 2 BAPTISMS 1777-1819, MARRIAGES 1777-1819 & BURIALS 1777-1819, I found the following baptisms for children of William and Martha:

23 Nov 1809 Eliz’th MEDCALF Will’m/Martha, Downs
27 Jun 1805 John MEDCALF Wm/Martha, Downs
9 Feb 1812 Henry MEDCALF Wm/Martha, Downs
16 Oct 1813 Will’m MEDCALF Wm/Martha, Downs

"Downs" is their residence. I am sure you can find much more by downloading and searching more records.

You should also search the Upper Canada Land Petitions to see if the family applied for land once in Canada. Their petitions may reveal more about their lives in Ireland. You may wish to read my tutorials on searching those petitions and finding the actual images onlline once you have completed your search in the index.

Using Land Petitions to Learn about an Ancestor

Finding an Ancestor in the Challenging Upper Canada Land Books

Searching Ontario Canada Land Records, eh? 

 In fact I did a quick search and here are the results for MEDCALF. Using my tutorials to guide you, you can now find the actual petitions online using the index information for any names below that are of interest.


It appears that one of William and Martha's sons (Francis Henry Medcalf) became a mayor in Toronto Ontario. There may be quite a bit of biographical information about him in Toronto archives or libraries.

January 23, 2020

Are You a Taelman/Talma descendant?

If you descend from Douwe Harmanse Taelman & Dirkje Teunise I have good news. A new book on the family has just been published.
The Taelman family in America descends from two sons of Douwe Harmanse and his wife Dirkje Teunise. Douwe was born in Friesland, married in Amsterdam, and emigrated to New Netherland in June 1658. Eventually the family settled in New Jersey. This book follows the first two generations of Douwe and Dirckje in the New World.

Available now on and on
New Netherland Settlers: The Taelman Family is the 14th published book in my New Netherland Settlers project. The complete list is available on my New Netherland page


January 22, 2020

RIP Rootsweb Mailing Lists

As many of my readers most likely already know, the following message was sent from Rootsweb earlier this month.

Beginning March 2nd, 2020 the Mailing Lists functionality on RootsWeb will be discontinued. Users will no longer be able to send outgoing emails or accept incoming emails.  Additionally, administration tools will no longer be available to list administrators and mailing lists will be put into an archival state.

You heard it right. All mailing lists on Rootsweb will be discontinued. It's a shame to lose all the wonderful genealogists sharing and asking questions on these lists so I've started a few replacement lists and groups.

If you are on Facebook be sure to check out the following groups and pages:

Olive Tree Genealogy

Ancestors At Rest

New Netherland Settlers

Van Slyke Genealogy

Van Valkenburg to Vollick

Vrooman Genealogy

Barheit Genealogy

Van Alstyne Genealogy

Goeway Genealogy

Descendants of Adriaen Crijnen Post

Straetsman Genealogy

Peer Genealogy in N. America

Pioneers of Arkell Wellington County

We Are Genealogy Bloggers 

Not on Facebook?

Not to worry I also set up some mailing lists using Google Groups.

New Netherland Settlers
This group is about the history and settlement of New Netherland (present day New York) & the early settlers. In 1624 the first colonists arrived in New Netherland to settle at Fort Orange (present day Albany) & other locations.    
Peer Genealogy
Following the descendants and ancestors of Jacob & Anne Peer and their 8 children from New Jersey to Ontario Canada 1797. Descendants settled in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ontario & New York.    

For anyone interested in the genealogy of Cornelis Antonissen Van Slyke and his nephew Willem Pieterse Van Slyke aka Neef. Both settled in New York in the 1600s.    
Van Valkenburg to Vollick
This group is for descendants of Isaac Van Valkenburg aka Vollick, Loyalist who left New York for Canada during the American Revolution    


January 20, 2020

Beyond 22: Virtual Record Treasury for Irish history

Thanks to Gail Dever of Genealogy a la Carte for reporting on "Beyond 22: Ireland's Virtual Record Treasury"

The Beyond 22 website explains:

June 30th, 2022, marks the centenary of the terrible explosion and fire at the Four Courts, Dublin, which destroyed the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) and, with it, seven centuries of Ireland’s collective memories. While incomparable with the loss of human life, the destruction of the Record Treasury at the PROI was one of the great tragedies of the Civil War.  
Beyond 2022 is an all-island and international collaboration. Working together, we will launch a Virtual Record Treasury for Irish history—an open-access, virtual reconstruction of the Record Treasury destroyed in 1922.
What an exciting new project for those of us with Irish ancestors! According to the organizers, more than seventy repositories world-wide hold substitute materials that can replace the documents destroyed in the Four Courts fire.

The Project has four phases: Discover, Digitize, Reconstruct, Reveal

With the identification of those records, Beyond 22 will digitize and restore what is found, then bring them online for researchers, historians, and genealogists to access.

I am looking forward to searching these records for my McGinnis, Downey, Jamieson, and Greenlees families. What names will you be looking for?

January 18, 2020

Why You Should Check Your Sources Carefully

This email came to Olive Tree Genealogy from Sam:

Hi my name is Sam .. I have a eill [sic] from 1856 for John Calvert... a family chart with that has Obed Calvert 1743-1809 as Father. also refered to as Francis ( Obed ) Calvert. Also Ino Calvert as Obed's father.. I faxed to a Calvert genealogist who told me he had never seen the names Ino or Obed in U.S. Calvert circles. here.. do you see these names over there? I live in Oceanside Ca., near San Diego Ca.
Hi Sam-

I'm guessing that you meant "will" not "eill". Your reference to "Ino" Calvert is almost certainly a misreading of the abbreviation "Jno.". Jno. was often used in place of the first name Jonathan (although some genealogists will argue it stood for the name "John") So the man you are searching is John or Jonathan Calvert, not Ino.

Remember too that Obed could be a shortened version of Obediah. If you are positive the reference to Francis is for the same man, perhaps he used his first and middle names indiscriminately. However they could be different men. Without knowing your sources I cannot comment.  As well, the word "ibid" means the same as "ditto" and I have to wonder if there is confusion there as well. I suggest you study your sources carefully - go over them again and again to make sure you have not missed a clue or misunderstood something. See my article Everyone Makes Mistakes: Why You Should Review YourResearch Notes

Your last question as to whether I have seen the names "over there" is confusing as I live in Canada and I wouldn't call that "over there" from California! In any case your best bet is to continue your search by looking for documents for the men whose names you know to be correct. That will be the best way to find out where the family originated and who the immigrant ancestor was.

January 16, 2020

Finding Meaning in Alphabet Soup

Kevin asked for help reading and understanding a record

My wife's grandfather Carl Gastone Casattas was born 26 Oct 1894 in San Francisco, California, and died 9 Sept 1970 in Santa Cruz, California.  In between he resided for a long time in Oakland, Alameda, California.

Imagine the surprise when we found the attached Index Card in the Civil War Pension file at NARA.  NARA was surprised too!  They said it did not belong and had no idea what it was doing there.

Can you tell us what is says and what it means?  We can find no record of him having military service.

Kevin - All I could find was this reference to C.A.C. being a Common Access Card, the standard identification for active duty uniformed service personnel, Selected Reserve, DoD civilian employees, and eligible contractor personnel.

I see in the 1930 census that Carl was employed by the US Army as a clerk so I suspect the record above has something to do with that. He no doubt needed an Employee ID Card and that may have been the C.A.C. mentioned in the top record. In 1920 he is listed as clerk working for the Government in the Navy Yard in San Francisco.

I think we've solved your mystery. Carl was a civilian employee in a Government/Military organization and as such needed an ID Card. 

January 13, 2020

Don't Let Family Lore Confuse You!

Shannah wrote to ask Olive Tree Genealogy about her Great grandfather William James Twiss
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 pars., (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 pars. arrived through Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the following springtime.
 Shannah - 

Here is what I found which does not seem to agree with your family lore. That is not unusual as family lore can be family myth and is often incorrect or confused. Don't let it lead you down the wrong path when researching!

Ed Twiss, age 40, farmer, his wife Ellen age 40 and three daughters Sarah
(20) Mildred (17) and Marcella (17) arrived 4 September 1888 at Halifax  on
board the steamer Peruvian. Their destination was noted as "Victoria BC"

Your ancestor is not with them on this journey.

The 1901 Census for British Columbia shows the family as Edward D. Twiss born 1839 Ontario, his wife Ellen born 1842 Ireland and two children - your ancestor William born 1872 Ireland and his sister Marcia born 1877 Ireland. Their year of immigration of Ellen and her children is given as 1889. 

We find Edward Day Twiss dying in July 1925 in British Columbia and his son William James dying in February 1953 in Vancouver British Columbia. His death registration found on FamilySearch indicates his date of birth as 11 November 1869, his father as Edward Day Twiss, his mother as Ellen Thomson and his wife as Sadie Jewell Brenton.

There are several death records on FamilySearch for your siblings of your William James Twiss: Mildred Jemima Twiss born 22 Sep 1868; Sarah Helena Nash Keen born 1866 in Kerry Ireland; Marcella Ellen Moodie born 22 Mar 1875 in Co. Kerry. Also William James Twiss marriage record 05 Jul 1906 shows he was born in Kerry, Ireland too. All these records come with images - how lucky is that!

I did find a few other items that might interest you - namely the marriage of William's father Edward to Ellen Thompson in Killarney Ireland. Her father is recorded as James Thompson. This might give you clues for more research in Killarney for the family.

 I found the birth of another son named Edward born 05 Sept 1872 in Ireland to Edward D. Twiss and his wife Ellen Thompson. Sarah Helena Twiss' birth was also found in the Irish birth records and her place of birth is recorded as Castle Island, Kerry Ireland. 

I am beginning to envy you all the records for your ancestors! And best of all here is your ancestor William James Twiss. A second birth record for William shows his place of birth as Annascall, Kerry Ireland. Now you have an exact date of birth and a location. Armed with this new information you have a lot of clues to help you in your search.

Summary of my findings:
Edward Day Twiss married Ellen Thomson/Thompson daughter of James in 1865 in Killarney, Kerry Ireland.  They immigrated to Canada 1888

* Sarah Helena Twiss  born 1866 in Castle Island, Kerry Ireland md 1 Nash m2 1893 B.C. John Keen, immigrated to Canada 1888
* Mildred Jemima Twiss born 1868 Castle Island, Kerry Ireland immigrated to Canada 1888
* William James Twiss born 1869 Annascall, Kerry Ireland md. 1906 B.C. Sadie Bointon
* Edward Twiss born 1872 Ireland
* Marcella Ellen Twiss  born 22 Mar 1875 in Kerry Ireland md. Walter Moodie
immigrated to Canada 1888

January 11, 2020

Don't Forget Nearby Countries When Searching for a Genealogy Record

Beth sent the following question to Olive Tree Genealogy:

I’m looking for a marriage record John Staehli born in Switzerland 1865, father and mother unknown. Magdalena Gasho born 1863 Canada father Andrew Gascho and mother Lydia Ginerich,  married in 1891-1892 in Canada. (on Ancestry trees someone put Nov 1891, and I’m looking for confirmation) I’ve researched many places and haven’t come across this record. Magdalena was a mennonite.

Beth - first let me correct an error in your family tree information. Magdalena's mother was Lydia GINGERICH/GINGRICH, not GINERICH. I'm also a GINGRICH descendant. You can read about my Gingrich family here

Since this couple's first child, Anna Maria, was born in Michigan (see image) and they continued to reside in Michigan, i would not be so sure they married in Ontario. Have you checked Michigan marriage records?

Notice also that the surname Staehli was badly recorded and then corrected in 1940. Have you used wildcards when searching for this couple?

Their surnames are such that they can easily be incorrectly recorded or indexed on websites.

In summary, I'd check Michigan marriages and I would use wildcards to search for this couple online. See Wildcards are Your Friend! A Canadian Case Study Part 2  for help with using wildcards.

January 9, 2020

New Netherland (NY) Research is Not Simple or Quick

New Netherland Research is Not Simple or Quick

Lois asked a rather convoluted question which does not have a simple answer. Because of the several questions Lois asked, i am going to intersperse my answers with her questions.

Q: After 200 years of historical accounts of the immigrants from the Netherlands, debate is still continuing when the surname Teunise/Teunisen is researched. My ancestor was Teunis Nyssen, who had  7 children based on baptism records, one (Cornelis) from guardianship record after his mother Phoebe Janse died. By 1660, when the 2nd generation started marriage and having children, the names of daughters were Teunis with an “e” added and sons with “en”. Historians and genealogists either made decisions which person had which “Teunis” father, so for the children of Teunis Nyssen, Denyse was added to the name “de Nys, or of Nys, as opposed to child of Teunis Bogaert. 

Is my assumption on the addition of the “e” and “en” correct?
A: The simple answer is "NO". The patronymic was formed by adding -se, -sen, or -szen. Daughters would very often have the ending -x or -dr. added. I suggest that what you are finding ("e" vs "en") is simply the way the name/patronymic was recorded by that specific clerk or individual. See Dutch Patronymics of the 1600s for more help. 

Also, if you have not seen my page on the DAMEN family of New Netherland I urge you to take a look.  As well as a brief expanation of the family origins, you will find several resources for you to use. You will definitely want the 4th one but you may find the others very helpful as well:

Q: The “Teunis” problem seems to have led to the following children  being attributed to Nyssen:   Hillegonde, Geertje, James, Joris and Teunis. So the second question relates to children naming  traditions.    First son after father’s father, 2nd mother’s father and 1st daughter after mother’s mother, 2nd after father’s mother...with exceptions.    A son Teunis for Nyssen is possible, but many records show him by age as 1st son, whereas he would be Dionys (name for Teunis’ father), 2nd son was Jan named for mother’s father.  
A:  You should never take naming traditions or customs as being set in stone. They might be observed by the couple but they might not be. One parent might be honoured by having a grandchild named after him/her but another might be on the "outs" with the family. A rich uncle or someone who could bestow favours on the couple might be the person honoured with a child's name. There may be a missing child which had the name of the missing parent. There are many reasons why naming patterns cannot be relied on!

Q: Is there any way to ID all the men named Teunis who would have been fathers between 1640 and 1670, so the “supposed children” could be linked to the correct parents?  If there is, how can it be communicated to people who have ancestry trees in various websites?  
A: You could certainly devote many years of research and study into an attempt to find all men named Teunis (or Antonis) who could have been fathers in that 30 year time span.  But if you were thinking of the entire area of New Netherland you would have quite a lifetime project ahead of you. Even if you found them all, determing which children belong to which father would quite likely take yet another lifetime, if indeed it could be done. 

Researching the Dutch in New Netherland is not an easy task. It requires years of study to understand naming patterns, customs, patronymics etc *and* to find the records to assist in the research. There are records that Dr. Gehring has been working on translating from the Dutch for over 25 years now! 

Photo credit: Stuart Miles on FreeDigital.Net

January 7, 2020

I Am My Own Worst Genealogy Enemy

Five (5) years ago, in October 2014, I messed up big time.

I'm only now discovering my error and realizing the mess it has created for me, genealogy-wise

In the image on the left you can see many jpg files with names starting with "GBPRS_CANT_" followed by a string of numbers. I discovered them as I was going through my hard drive organizing genealogy files.

Because they do not have identifying file names (surname, date, location at a minimum) I began opening them. They are a mix of baptisms, burials and marriages from somewhere in Kent England. The dates range from 1607 to 1832 so far but I have not checked them all.

One of 47 images that are not identified. Years are 1639 and 1640
Because the images are challenging to read and I don't have all my mother's Kent ancestors memorized, I looked in the meta data for each file for information. Nothing. Nada. It is blank for each one.

That means I was in such a frenzy of finding and gathering the images that I couldn't be bothered stopping for a minute to add the meta data OR at the very least, rename the files with the surname of the ancestor! Any of those would have helped me figure out who each record is for. I could even have simply annotated each one with an arrow pointing to the ancestor found on the page.

Baptism of NIcholas Widlbore in 1611. I have now added an arrow & labelled this one correctly.
Since I didn't do any of that, I am stuck going through each image, and trying to match names with my master list of surnames. I've been at it for hours now and have only managed to properly label 9 of 47 files.

I hope I have learned a lesson. I pray I never repeat this silly mistake in future! What ridiculous mistakes have you made as you've gone along in your genealogy research?

January 5, 2020 Published 368,000 Cemetery Records in the Month of December 2019

January 3, 2020, Menifee, CA — published 368,107 cemetery records covering 59 cemeteries in 20 US states in the month of December 2019. They are now available for free viewing to the general public by visiting

These records were acquired mostly from city and county offices as well as cemetery sextons. Most of these records include dates of birth, death, and burial, and many include plot locations and names of funeral homes.

States and counties covered in these records…

Alaska (Matanuska-Susitna Borough)
Colorado (Boulder, El Paso, Weld)
Florida (Alachua, Lake, Osceola)
Idaho (Ada)
Illinois (Douglas, Logan, Kane, Sangamon, Winnebago)
Iowa (Johnson, Clay)
Kentucky (Jefferson)
Massachusetts (Worcester)
Michigan (Charlevoix)
Minnesota (Ramsey)
Nebraska (Dodge)
North Carolina (Iredell)
North Dakota (Cass)
Ohio (Franklin, Lucas, Montgomery)
Oklahoma (Ellis, Oklahoma)
Texas (El Paso, Gillespie)
Utah (Salt Lake)
Virginia (City of Richmond, Bedford)
Wisconsin (Juneau, Waukesha, Richland)
Wyoming (Fremont, Johnson, Park)

All records were left unedited to reflect the same information exactly as appears from their original sources.

Since 1997, has published transcriptions of cemetery records acquired from genealogists, government agencies, churches, and cemetery sextons. To date, more than 25 million records are available online for free, unlimited access. 

Genealogists may browse or search the full archive, or contribute their transcriptions, by visiting

January 3, 2020

Seeking The Primrose Girls from Galway Ireland to Canada 1853

The website Irish Central has an intriguing plea for help.

"Can you help? Seeking descendants of the 156 Irish “Primrose girls” who emigrated to Canada, in 1853.

A group of Irish amateur genealogists from a small Galway town are seeking to connect with descendants of 156 emigrants known as the “Primrose” girls after the name of the ship they sailed on to Canada in 1853. "

A letter sent from the Galway organization reads in part

We, “The Primrose Girls’ Project” are currently undertaking research on a group of workhouse orphan girls who traveled from Mountbellew Workhouse in County Galway, Ireland via the port of Limerick bound for Quebec Canada on the Primrose ship on July 16th, 1853. Our aim as a group is to discover what happened to these orphan girls on arrival in Canada. Record their stories and reconnect with their descendants’. These girls, so long forgotten in their native place, deserved to be remembered. The group are hoping to have a commemoration for the girls in 2021 in Galway.

Here is a list of the girls. If any of my readers know anything about any of the Primrose Girls, please leave a comment on this post. Please also read xxx about another earlier project (Irish Orphans to Australia in 1853) regarding the Mountbellew Workhouse. Also see Bytown or Bust for more information on these girls and the workhouse

A list of the Primrose girls:

Biddy Molloy, aged 18
Mary Carr, aged 19
Biddy Barrett, aged 16
Catherine Connolly, aged 20
Peggy Lohan, aged 18
Mary Rafferty, aged 17
Biddy King, aged 18
Catherine Higgins, aged 19
Ellen Egan, aged 15
Honor Gibbons, aged 23
Kitty Loughnane, aged 15
Mary Shannon, aged 15
Bessy Fallon, aged 16
Biddy Kelly, aged 18
Kitty Rabbitt, aged 18
Ellen Madden, aged 18
Ellen Brennan, aged 18
Honor Corbett, aged 15
Mary Brennan, aged 22
Mary Coffey, aged 17
Mary Down, aged 20
Winny Dowd, aged 17
Anne McGrath, aged 15
Biddy Healy, aged 16
Honor Brady, aged 16
Margaret Coffey, aged 19
Mary Concannon, aged 15
Biddy Toohey, aged 18
Celia McCabe, aged 19
Jane Murray, aged 15
Judy Healy, aged 20
Mary Killarney, aged 21
Biddy Cox, aged 20
Catherine Kilgannon, aged 15
Honor Quinn, aged 18
Mary Daly, aged 18
Biddy Breheny, aged 20
Catherine Fallon, aged 17
Kitty Heneghan, aged 26
Mary Dooly, aged 20
Mary Coffey, aged 18
Mary Kilfoyle, aged 18
Mary Warde, aged 16
Mary Mitchell, aged 16
Catherine Keogh, aged 20
Jane Kelly, aged 40
Fanny Gereghty, aged 15
Biddy Ruane, aged 40

Resolving Genealogy Discrepancies in Locations

Rory asked for clarification on a location:
I am reseaching a William Hanley. According to his obituary:

 " Mr. Hanley was born on May 4th 1857 at Buffalo Wellington County Ontario son of the late Richard and Elizabeth Hanley."

 The only village I can scare up is Buffalo Heights but that is in Peel Co. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

I think rather than try to figure out what was meant by "Buffalo" you might be further ahead to search for the family in the 1851 census. Find out where they were living, then check 1861.

The census records for Canada are available on

I did a little bit of research and found the following which looks like a good fit for your family:

1861 Census Ellice Twp, Perth Co. Ontario
Richard Hanley, 31, farmer born Ireland
Elizabeth, 20, born Upper Canada
William, 3 born UC
Michael, 2 born UC
Ellen, 1 born UC

The marriage record for Michael provides his mother's name as Lizzie Tracey. "Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925," index and images, FamilySearch ( )

The marriage of Ellen is found in 1878 Ellen Hanley, 19, born Stratford, living Peel Twp, daughter of Richard Hanley and Elizabeth Tracey married Jacob Wentz. Witness William Tracey of Peel Twp.

There is information on William found in the Boissevain and Morton Regional Library

Men of the Halifax Provisional Battalion crossing a stream
near Swift Current, Saskatchewan, 1885
Title: Hanley, William fonds. . Pages: One folder textual. . Abstract: Biographical information. Notes: Title based on content of fonds.

Information taken from W. V. Udall's files (Editor of The Boissevain Recorder) received from Beckoning Hills R Revisited book committee. William Hanley (1854-19 ) was born in Wellington County,Ontario; arrived Brandon 1882. Homesteaded in Saskatchewan on 32-3-2; participated in 1885 Riel Rebellion. Married Lucy Hallady April 19, 1892 at Moosomin, Saskatchewan; took up residence in Boissevain 1895. He was a livestock dealer. Further accruals not expected. Subjects: Riel Rebellion, 1885. Location / Call number: Click on the location field to begin an inter-library loan transaction • Boissevain and Morton Regional - MBOM ;MBOM ;MG14/C192. (-553)

This site might prove helpful to you regarding the Riel Rebellion mention. 


  • Appendix II contains the list of 1, 704 men of the RED RIVER EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 1870-1877.
  • Appendix III contains the bounty warrants issued as a result of their service in the RED RIVER EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 1870-1877, as well as discharge date and location

1901 Census Boissevain (Village), Brandon, Manitoba
1911 Census Souris, Manitoba
1916 Census Broadway, Boissevain, Manitoba

January 1, 2020

Thousands of Newspaper Clippings to Sort!

Continuing on with our large genealogy research collection, we are now on Stage 3. We've triaged all the boxes into various topics as mentioned in my last blog post.

Yesterday we had a good look at the newspaper clippings. It's overwhelming. The image on the left shows some, but not all of the binders and boxes of clippings! There is another large plastic tub full of loose clippings.

Many are in binders but a very large number are loose and in plastic sleeves in boxes.

I pulled out one of the binders and took a photo to illustrate how they were originally organized . It is obvious by looking through the binders that she organized the clippings by surname, then glued the clippings to blank paper, attempting to keep family groups together. This is a wonderful resource of births, marriages, deaths, obituaries, graduations and so on. However there are hundreds, if not thousands, of loose clippings that are not sorted so we will have to think about how best to treat those.

I have not gotten a good sense of the time span for the clippings as we aren't taking the time right now to delve into each collection. For now we are focusing on sorting and finding space in our home to house all the books and binders so we can begin a more serious in-depth assessment and inventory.

The newer clippings may be available online so we have to decide if it is worth house space to devote to them. I did note some clippings from the early 1900s and late 1800s, and those may be worth preserving. We have some tough decisions ahead.

We found room in the basement for the binders of newspaper clippings which were labelled A through to Z , although we are missing some of the alphabet! I suspect those are some of the loose clippings as we know that the Heritage Assocation began removing clippings from the binders in order to inventory them before realizing the collection was too large for them to handle. 

We have saved binders to replace the missing letters and hopefully in the future we will be able to at least organize the loose clippings to insert in binders. But we won't use glue! 

Of course the question still remains - what do we do with the clippings once organized? We're mulling on that question.