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June 12, 2021

Access to Nearly 1 Million Slave Trade Records

Staff with Michigan State University’s Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences are taking on the seemingly impossible goal of illuminating the lives of the millions of Africans, and their descendants, sold into bondage across four continents as part of the slave trade. 

Founded by a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this project is being carried out primarily by investigators with Michigan State University and the University of Maryland, in partnership with other prominent collaborating organizations. 

An estimated 388,000 enslaved persons arrived in North America, and by 1860 nearly 4 million lived in bondage in the United States.  The project has launched a FREE public website where you can search people, events and places across 857,398 records (constantly expanding) from the slave trade.

Any member of the public can utilize the site “Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade,” available at I will be visiting the site to look for Jonathan Butler, my husband's 4th great-grandfather, a free man of colour from Pennsylvania. This is a wonderful resource for genealogists and historians alike.

June 10, 2021

Wartime love letters returned to U.S. family thanks to Ontario woman's discovery


Every once in a while I like to post a "feel good" story. You know, the kind that makes you smile, or gives you the feels. This is one of those times. It's been a rough year for most of us with the Pandemic. This story made me happy.

The story starts with this quote from the site: 

Morris and Betty Starkman were newlyweds in 1953 and about to start their lives together in Detroit when Morris, a doctor, was instead sent to Korea to fight in a painful war as a captain with the U.S. Medical Corps. 

Throughout that period, he wrote letters to his new wife and other family members.

Somehow, over the years, those letters, plus ones written back to him, became separated from the family, ending up in a tin box underneath a bunch of old magazines in a basement in Kingsville, Ont.

Spoiler Alert! The Ontario woman who bought the letters many years ago, researched the Starkmans and found their son. You can read the whole story here

June 8, 2021

Olive Tree Genealogy Chosen as one of 101 Best Genealogy Websites!

 Olive Tree Genealogy is excited to announce that my website has been selected by Family Tree Magazine editors as one of the 101 Best Websites for Genealogy! 

This is an annual list published to provide  readers with the best online resources for genealogy research. 
“With the online genealogy world constantly changing, it can be hard to keep up with what websites and tools are the most useful,” said Family Tree Magazine Editor Andrew Koch. “That’s why our list focuses on the best of the best—the websites that will make the best use of your time and money.”  
You can find the new, updated list on their website. Olive Tree Genealogy was placed under the category Best Genealogy News Websites and Blogs of 2021

The list will appear in the July/August 2021 issue of Family Tree Magazine, which ships to magazine subscribers in June and will be available on newsstands on June 22.

June 5, 2021

Finding Ancestors in Heir & Devisee Papers 1797-1854

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 Home District Land Certificates 1787 to 1795 are useful genealogy records that many genealogists overlook.