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April 30, 2020

Find Prison Records for Ancestors

1863 Jury William Massey Trial
My husband's 3rd great grandfather William Massey was sent to trial, found guilty and given 6 months at hard labour in the Stratford Ontario Jail. He was found guilty on April 18, 1863. His sentence began December 10, 1863 and he was released June 10, 1864. So William was incarcerated in the Stratford Jail and not in Tennessee fighting for Grant as family legend had told. Sadly William died a year and a half after his release from jail.

Why the Lie?

Our best guess is that a lie was told to his children (ages 3 to 16) when he was imprisoned. Far better to tell the little ones that Daddy was off being a hero fighting a war, then to say Daddy was a thief and was sent to jail. And note MaryAnn's words in a newspaper article "....after spending 6 months in a Federal Hospital he was discharged..." Wow - 6 months - that was his sentence in Stratford Jail! We are just surprised that in such a small town, the gossip didn't make the rounds  for the kids to get wind of! Or did MaryAnn simply make up the story on her own?

We think the jail term may have hastened William's early death. He was 41 when he served his time at hard labour. And it would have been very hard. Conditions at the jail were not good, there was very little ventilation, it was cold in winter and hot in summer. Disease was almost certainly rampant.

So as sad as it is to think of William suffering as he must have, we are delighted to have found yet another bit of detail to help us form our story of this ancestor.

Prison Records Provide the Clues Needed

It was not the non-existent court records suddenly appearing that provided this information. It was the records of the Stratford Jail. They are sparse but they do provide the prisoner's name, age, length of stay in Canada, place of birth, crime and date imprisonment began and ended. The records also provided us with height, colour of eyes and hair, and a few other comments about his character. William has two mentions, the second states that his conduct as a prisoner was good.

Immigration Date Found

The other very welcome bit of information we gleaned from the jail records was that William had lived in Canada for 20 years. This gives us an approximate year of immigration from Ireland. Since ships passenger lists to Canada were not archived before 1865 we had no year of immigration and had previously only known that in 1843 William married Ellen Montgomery in Quebec. But we did not know if he arrived in Quebec as a child (with parents) or as a young man.

Now we know that he was approximately 21 years old when he sailed from Ireland to Canada. Since his wife's family was already in Quebec, and had been for many years, we assume he met her soon after arrival.

April 25, 2020

Soldier’s bedroom has not been touched since he died in World War 1

A French soldier’s bedroom has not been touched since he died in World War 1. 

Dragoons' Second Lieutenant Hubert Rochereau died aged 21 after fighting in Loker, Flanders, in April 1918. 

When his parents left their home in Belabre, south-western France, they sealed the room, preserving it exactly as he left it.

Take a look at the amazing photos of this young soldier's room as it was over 100 years ago.

April 23, 2020

New Jersey Archives Starts Indexing NJ Early tax Lists

New Jersey State Archives announced yesterday on Twitter:

Archives staff are indexing New Jersey's early tax lists (over 1,800 in all). The resultant database and digital files will eventually be posted for free use on the Archives' website. As most date from 1772-1820, they are vitally important given the loss of New Jersey's first 4 federal censuses.
This is great news for those of us who have New Jersey ancestors pre 1800!  I'll be anxiously watching their website for further updates

April 21, 2020

NEW! Genealogy Research Service

Olive Tree Genealogy is pleased to announce that I am now offering a Genealogy Research Service in Ontario Canada records. This includes Upper Canada and Canada West genealogy records. You may purchase packages for 3 hours, 5 hours or 10 hours of research.

My 3 hour package is $150.00 US funds

My 5 hour package is normally $250.00 US funds but with a limited 10% discount it is $225.00

My 10 hour package is normally $500.00 but with a 15% discount of $75.00 it is available for a limited time for $425.00 US funds

To request a package, write to Lorine at with your request. I will then send you a list of what details I need from you. After we work out details you will be invoiced through Paypal.

I am also able to offer individual records search in Ontario Land Records Index and Abstract Indexes to Deeds at a flat rate per record. Please see my Genealogy Research Services page.

April 20, 2020

NYPD Unearths Over 100 Years Of Photos Documenting NYC’s History

Buried in the basement of of police headquarters, where the New York Police Department photo unit has rooms of boxes and file cabinets. The boxes and cabinets are filled with departmental photos from the 1800s to today.

These historical photos are coming to life again as they are being digitized.
Their first set of digitized boxes consisted of 14 bankers' boxes and was donated to the municipal archive in 2019.

Continue reading

April 18, 2020

Medieval Mummy Perfectly Preserved in Siberia

Researchers working in the Russian High Arctic in Siberia excavated the naturally mummified remains of a woman who lived approximately 800 years ago.

This is the first woman found in the site called Zeleny Yar.

Her hair and eyelashes were perfectly preserved thanks in part to a copper plate that covered her face. The plate helped slow decomposition.

April 15, 2020

Vatican Library Online

The Vatican Apostolic Library, known as "VAT," contains around 75,000 codices and 85,000 incunabula (which Esparza defines as "editions made between the invention of the printing press and the 16th century") amid a total of over one million volumes.

Thanks to an ongoing digitization project launched a decade ago, many have become searchable and downloadable on DigiVatLib, a database of the Vatican Library’s digitized collections

Continue reading at The Vatican Library Goes Online and Digitizes Tens of Thousands of Manuscripts, Books, Coins, and More

April 13, 2020

Found Easter Bunny on Twitter!

Found Easter Bunny on Twitter!
Those who followed my blog post on the weekend Easter Bunny Returns With His Family Tree
know that I had hear rumours that E.B. was on Twitter. Well I'm happy to say I found him yesterday!

His Twitter handle is @IamEasterBunny if you want to see what he's been up to over the years. He hasn't tweeted in a long time but hopefully he's just busy finding food in the Pandemic.

I read his tweets (See below for images) and it looks like he's hot on the bunny trail of a few of his brick walls. Plus he announced yesterday that he's been chosen as a Celebrity Bunny on the next season of the TV show "Hop to Find Out Who You Think You Are" Wow I can't wait to watch that episode!

April 12, 2020

Easter Bunny Family Bible Found!

Easter Bunny Hopped By to Share Some Genealogy News

Some of you may remember that a few years ago a very exciting discovery was made! A small girl named Alice was playing in the garden of an old house in England when she fell down a large rabbit hole. Before climbing out she made a unique discovery. In a small wooden box under a pile of rabbit fur hats Alice spotted a yellowed letter. The letter was addressed to "Dear Easter" and signed "Uncle Wiggily", and it provided details of an interesting family tree!

Take a look at Easter Bunny's Family Tree chart and the letter to Easter Bunny from Uncle Wiggly.

Easter Bunny hopped by my house today as he made his rounds and shared some new discoveries. His great-grandma Bunny Fufu's bible has been found! Cousin Willy decided to downsize his warren and needed to get rid of items. So Easter was the lucky recipient of the treasured Bible. It even has a photo of Fufu on the cover!

Easter couldn't stay long as he had a lot of eggs to colour and hide but he did show me the Bible and let me take a picture of it. Wow, what a lucky bunny! I wonder what he'll find in the next 12 months?

April 11, 2020

Easter Bunny's Family Tree Pedigree Chart

Since that exciting discovery of his family tree, Easter Bunny has found more genealogy goodies!  In 2010 Easter found a family tree chart!

It seems that a little girl named Alice was playing in the garden of an old house in England when she fell down a large rabbit hole. Before climbing out she made a unique discovery. In a small wooden box under a pile of rabbit fur hats Alice spotted a yellowed letter. The letter was addressed to "Dear Easter" and signed "Uncle Wiggily", and it provided details of an interesting family tree!

The complete letter has been transcribed and you can read the text of the letter here

This year a Descendant Family Tree was found! Here it is for your enjoyment and below it is the original letter from Easter Bunny's Uncle Wiggly.

April 10, 2020

Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found!

Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found!

This was announced previously on Olive Tree Genealogy blog but I felt it was worth repeating!
Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found! 
Breaking news - yesterday a little girl named Alice was playing in the garden of an old house in England when she fell down a large rabbit hole. Before climbing out she made a unique discovery. In a small wooden box under a pile of rabbit fur hats Alice spotted a yellowed letter. The letter was addressed to "Dear Easter" and signed "Uncle Wiggily", and it provided details of an interesting family tree!

The complete letter has been transcribed below:

Easter Bunny's Family Tree Found! Dearest Easter,
I'm glad you asked about your family. Time is getting short for me and I think I'm the only one left who knows the stories of our family.

Your great-grandfather, Bugs, was one of three brothers (Bugs, Peter and Brer). The brothers left their home and sailed for America in the late 1800s. The ship they were on was caught up in a terrible storm and the brothers had to tie themselves to the mast. The ship sank but Bugs, Peter and Brer were lucky enough to find a plank and they climbed up on it and drifted for several days until they were rescued by the SS Lollipop.

When they got to Ellis Island, the customs officials changed the brothers' last names before allowing them to leave the ship, and so the three branches of our family began.

Bugs, Your great-grandpa, kept his Bunny name. Peter's was changed to Cottontail and all his descendants have kept that name. Brer's name was changed to Rabbit and it is from his line that our famous cousins White and Velveteen descend.

Great grandpa Bugs later met and married your great-grandmother Bunny Fufu. I don't know anything about her parents. My cousin Willy Bunny has photos and her family bible but he is stingy with the family information and refuses to share. Apparently Bunny Fufu's family bible was tossed into a fire by Indians when they attacked the settlement where she and her parents lived, but Bunny's father leapt into the flames and saved the bible. I wish Willy would not be so secretive with the information!

It gets a bit confusing, but Velveteen Rabbit, your mother, was your father Energizer's second wife and his third cousin once removed. It wasn't unusual for cousins to marry each other, but it does get confusing as we all seem to have large families.

Velveteen's father (your maternal grandfather) was Peter but I don't know too much about your mom's side of the family. I did hear there was an Angora in there somewhere way back. Some say she was a Princess and Peter rescued her from pirates!

Of course you know your grandparents - Buster and Trix. One day you should ask your grandma Trix why she calls your grandpa Buster by his nickname "Hassenfeffer" whenever she is mad at him, it's a cute story.

I've done some research on our family but am stuck on your great-great-grandmother. That would be your Great-Grandpa Bugs' mother. Great-Grandpa Bugs' father (your great-great-grandpa) was named Cadbury but I think your great-great-grandma was left by aliens. She is my brick wall. I know Cadbury called her Flopsy and they had 54 children but even though I've searched everywhere, I can't find what her SIRname was.

I guess I should tell you about the family scandal involving your Great great grandpa Cadbury Bunny. My Aunt Babbity told me she heard the grownups whispering about this when she was little. It seems that Cadbury's father fell in love with a chicken and Cadbury was the result of that love match! This might explain Cadbury's strange behaviour....

Well Easter, I think I've given you enough details to confuse you, but I hope I've gotten you interested in learning more! I know where some of the graves are of your ancestors and will take you there one day if you want to go. It's just a hop, skip and jump away.

Give my best to all the little children when you make your rounds this year,

As ever,
Uncle Wiggily

April 8, 2020

Online Newspapers at Swedish Royal Library

The Swedish Royal Library has published all of its digitalised newspapers online for everyone to access. Previously, you had to visit the library to access articles from 1904 and newer. 

KB (Kungliga biblioteket, The Royal Library), The National Library of Sweden, was founded in the 1500s. Since 1661, when the first Legal Deposit Law was introduced, it has functioned as the kingdom's national memory. 

April 6, 2020

Soldiers from University of Toronto in World Wars

From University of Toronto History Society:

The Hall of Remembrance has been created to memorialize and remember those U of T student-soldiers who fought and died in the World Wars.
If you have an ancestor or relative who attended U of T during either WW1 or WW2 you might want to check this out. It is complete with photos of the soldiers

For more Canadian military facts and genealogy see the Canadian Military Project

April 3, 2020

Free Google Chrome Extension for Ancestry

Thanks to Dear Myrtle for the following item:
Randy Majors announces that he just launched this free Google Chrome extension for Ancestry. Hope it helps find some "hidden" records!

Let this FREE tool do the work for you as you search on Ancestry.
Install here:

U.S. county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times since America was settled in colonial times. Don’t sabotage your search for ancestors by not knowing the correct county for the historical years you are researching.

While searching on Ancestry, the free Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Google Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching!

Install for free today and never let an ancestor fall off the map again

Detailed walkthrough with screenshots: