Thursday, 31 December 2015

Looking Back... 2015


Happy New Year readers and loyal followers!


I look back on 2015 and I realize I accomplished quite a lot in my genealogical world.
I wrote 122 posts that were researched to help people find their ancestors that were everything from horticulturists, robbers and victualers to Post Office workers and also about the cost of living in days of yore. I published six handy downloadable Resource lists.

I unraveled the mystery of Hannah Mead, who appeared as a child with my ancestor's family on the census. That question had been niggling at me for a long time.


I started a new blog, The Days of Their Lives, telling stories of my ancestors.

I published my sixth family history book, a few years of research in the making.

What will 2016 bring?
I have a few projects in mind and finishing any one of them will make me happy.

So here's to a fresh start and endless possibilities!

Auld Lang Syne (click image)

Sunday, 27 December 2015

I Don't Know Everything!



One of my daughters gave me this genealogy book for Christmas, by George G Morgan and Drew Smith, titled Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques.



And you know what?  I don't know everything! 
Just by page thirteen I had already read tips I had not thought of. Thanks Mel!

Many genealogists share their knowledge by writing books.  Some are specific to an area, family or an event, others more general with tips and tricks.


Check your local Historical or Genealogical Society, Amazon online, and the following links for books that may help you with your family tree. Use keywords "genealogy books" in your favourite search engine. 


Relevant Links




Books on Irish Genealogy, Mike O'Laughlin, Irish Roots Cafe









Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Word From Granny








My Great Granny Mavor reminds us to be generous this holiday season.
Alexander and Rebecca Mavor were both Salvation Army.







Monday, 21 December 2015

The Book Trade


Some of my fondest kid memories are of lying on the top bunk in my room at our cottage on a rainy day and listening to the rain on the roof as I read the adventures of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

The grade three teacher at my kids school was very artsy and she had a friend who was a bookbinder. She had all the students write an illustrated story and draw a fancy cover, then had them bound into books by her friend.  What a fabulous thing to do - that was over thirty years ago and I am still talking about it!


I like going into bookstores, but I LOVE going into used book stores. Sometimes I luck out and find a book I wanted that is long out of print.  There are still a few I am looking for, and booksellers all over town are keeping an eye out for them for me.

Do you have an ancestor who was a bookseller, bookbinder or publisher?




These are links to people in the book trade. Also look in trade and commercial directories.




Relevant Links


Alien members of the book trade during the Tudor period: 1906

American Book Trade Directory 1922

A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800 (limited view)

A Dictionary of Printers and Booksellers, England, Scotland & Ireland, 1668-1725

Abstracts from the wills of English printers and stationers, 1492-1630

History of Booksellers, the old and the new 1873

Sketches of booksellers of other days - 1901

Sketches of some of the booksellers of the time of Dr Samuel Johnson, 1902

Dictionary of the Antiquarian Booksellers and dealers in second-hand books, US 1885

International directory of Antiquarian Booksellers - Internationales adressbuch der antiquar-buchhändler - 1906

The Booksellers' League: A history of its formation and ten years of its work US 1905

Abstracts from the wills and testamentary documents of printers, binders and stationers of Cambridge, 1504-1699

The International Directory of second-hand booksellers and bibliopile's manual 1894

Hodson's Booksellers, publishers and stationers' directory for London and Country 1855

Register of artists, engravers, booksellers, bookbinders, printers & publishers of New York City 1633-1820

Directory of second-hand booksellers & list of public libraries British and foreign 1891

The Victorian Book Trade







Tuesday, 15 December 2015

International Tea Day


Today is International Tea Day.

My husband took me to High Tea at the Empress Hotel on our honeymoon.  What an experience (even if, since we were camping and wearing jeans they put us out of sight behind a big pot)!!!



I come from a family of coffee drinkers. Even as a young girl I preferred café au lait
over hot chocolate after a day of playing in the cold snow or skating down at the town rink. I love my coffee, and it has to taste like coffee - not hazelnut or pumpkin or cinnamon. No latté or frappé. Coffee.

My husband was a coffee drinker also but his doctor told him he had to cut it out.  He had a hard time with it, trying chicory coffee and other pretend coffees.  Blech!!  One day a guy told him to try tea.  Not your everyday tea in a teabag, but real tea, like rooibos. He bought some and loved it! Especially after he read all the good things about drinking it. Well, my darling XY gets a one track mind.  He visited many tea shops, talked to tea merchants, and read about all the different kinds of tea. He experimented with many kinds, some caffeinated some not. Green teas, black teas, Indian teas, China teas, Brazilian teas. Each tea uses a different temperature water and seeps for different times. He bought a $99 kettle that he could set to boil to the exact temperature for the specific kind of tea he decided to drink after his meal. Then set the timer. He tried different methods of making the tea - tea balls, tea filters, etc. He bought cute little tea tins, all neatly labeled, that have taken over my kitchen cupboards.



He has become the Tea Master of the Neighbourhood.  After trying and tasting he has settled on a few favourites - rooibos, yerba mate, a black tea from India and a green tea from our local tea merchant's uncles farm in China. Once in a while he will make a ginger or cinnamon tea. I like the honey bush tea once in a while, but I'll stick to my coffee for now.

If you have an ancestor that was a tea merchant, you may find his name and listing in a trade directory.  Some of the directories from Asia have names and information on tea merchants, check the links from the related post and type "tea" in the search box.


Relevant Links

Tea: and the tea trade, 1850

Tea producing companies of India and Ceylon, 1897

A sketch of the growth and history of tea and the science of blending particularly adapted to the Canadian trade, 1881

James Finlay Collection



Related Post:  Who's who in Asia



Monday, 14 December 2015

Land Agents and Realtors



The first realtors in the colonies were Crown Land Agents.  These agents were government appointed employees. Their role was not only to sell land to settlers, but to help those settlers iron out disputes and land issues with the government. If you want to read more, there is a very good thesis written about Crown Land Agents and Surveyors written in 2004 by Michelle Vosburgh of McMasters University.  Names of Crown Land Agents could be found in the Sessional Papers. Some of the British Sessional Papers, Inventory Control have them, like Volume 37-2, pg 375 has names of Land Agents in Ireland testifying at the Royal Commission on Labour.



As I have said, we moved many times.  Each time we used a Real Estate Agent. They can list your property, show you several properties for sale, and once the choice is made, wade through all the paperwork necessary in buying or selling property. Look for your ancestors names in a directory of Real Estate Agents.




Was your ancestor a Land or Real Estate Agent?


Relevant Links

Sessional Papers, British Parliament.  Inventory Control 1892-1908

Directory of licensed real estate dealers of Chicago, 1890-1891

Directory of reliable real estate agents, abstractors, banks and real estate lawyers of the United States 1908

Peterborough Real Estate Investment Company Ltd Canada 1879

Polk's real estate register and directory of the United States and Canada 1911

Real Estate Catalogue for immigrants: province of Ontario, Canada 1880

Canadian land advertiser for immigrants: Province of Ontario and Manitoba 1883

Real Estate record: guide to buyers and sellers, how to draw a contract, NY 1896

Matthew's guide for settlers on public lands, land agents, bankers etc USA 1889

Journal of the Land Agents' Society


Related posts: Land




Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Ancestry Ditching Family Tree Maker? - Don't Panic!



I know a lot of people, including me, are upset with the news that Ancestry is ditching Family Tree Maker. There doesn't seem to be another program with the exact same great features. Reading the thoughts of users around the web , some are searching for alternatives and others are taking a wait-and-see attitude.



I urge you to not do anything rash, there is lots of time before you have to decide. Read blogs by other genealogists on the subject if you're not sure what to do, or familiar with what is out there. If you decide you want to get other software, read specs and reviews to see if it is right for you and meets your needs.

Diane at Genealogy Insider offers some insight, and a few links that you can check out. Lorine at Olivetree Genealogy also offers good advice.

I recommend you read the blog of Lisa Louise Cook on the subject at Genealogy Gems. Lisa explains the rationale behind the move by Ancestry.

I am at a standstill in my research right now, so I will take this time to update, update, update. At Ancestry I will check all my hints, sort out and empty my shoebox, download records and images, and any other chores needing to be done. Then I will sync and save the GEDCOM. After that..... I don't know, but I will be ready for whatever I decide.

A couple of people have asked, so here is how to make a GEDCOM file and save it to your computer. GEDCOM (.ged) is the universal type of file for genealogy programs, and can be exported from Ancestry or Family Tree Maker and imported to pretty much any other genealogy software program.

From Ancestry online:
At your family tree, click Tree Pages to open the menu, choose Tree Settings. On the right side, you will see Manage your tree. Click on Export Tree, save the file on your computer. (I include the date when naming the file so I know I always have the latest one).




From Family Tree Maker:
From menu choose File, Export
New window appears, check entire file and include everything.
For Output Format, choose GEDCOM 5.5 from the drop down menu. Save the file on your computer as above.




So, like I said, don't panic. There is lots of time to figure it all out.
Oh, and keep this old saying in mind.... "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face!"



Update:  You can read Ancestry's next day reply to comments and concerns here.






New York Military list 1863



This publication from 1863 contains the names of persons, enrolled as liable to military duty (under the act of Congress, approved March 3, 1863,) in the Third congressional district, New York, Eleventh ward. It also lists their address.



"Any person enrolled may appear before the Board and claim to have his name stricken off the list, if he can show to the satisfaction of the Board that he is not, and will not be at the time fixed for the next draft, liable to military duty..."


Relevant Links


Names of persons enrolled as liable to Military Duty 1863

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

WWII Army Newsreels



Those with parents, uncles, aunts or grandparents that were in World War II may be interested in watching some Canadian Army Newsreels that are being uploaded to Library and Archives Canada's YouTube channel.

The Canadian Army Newsreels were 10 minute films made by the Canadian Film and Photo Unit who were trained in combat the same as all soldiers. The films were distributed each week to the Canadian troops, the National Film Board and Canadian, British and American newsreel companies.


Canadian Army Newsreel No 1 (1942)


At Internet Archive there are 266 newsreels of different countries, including Britain, America, Australia, Japan and Italy.  Use the index on the right to find the ones you want.

Will you see your ancestor in one of these films?



Relevant Links

Canadian Army Newsreels

German WWII Newsreels

WWII Newsreels at Internet Archive




Monday, 7 December 2015

Survey says.....



We have moved many times over the years and with the paper work of each new place was a survey of the property... the lot, placement of buildings on the lot, etc. If there are disputes over lot boundaries a surveyor is called to remeasure and make a report.



The land surveyors played a very important part in history. Before a town was settled it was surveyed and mapped, its boundaries decided, then it was divided into lots.



This is an excerpt from the website "A Life Without Limits"  on the history of Surveying:

"Land Surveying is one of the oldest professions in the world. The first land surveys date back to nearly 3,000 years ago, when Egyptian Surveyors subdivided the fertile land around the Nile River and worked on re-marking the land after the annual flooding of the Nile River.
 The early settlement of Australia [and North America] also required help from Land Surveyors. The majority of famous early explorers including Burke and Wills had a Surveying background and their work allowed the land to be settled, by defining property boundaries in the city and the country. Back then Surveyors used primitive technology including chains and steel bands, which made their measurements difficult to record and often required the use of logarithmic tables and slide rulers."

Search Surveyor General reports for your state or province, some list names of surveyors. Some give the going price of land like this report from Pennsylvania. Some Surveyor General Reports also list land grants or owners of land.

Perhaps your land surveyor ancestor is mentioned in these publications and lists?


Relevant Links

Surveyor's Book 1863, Glasgow KY

Dominion Land Surveyors - annual report of Department of Interior pg 374

Historical Roll of New Brunswick Surveyors since 1875

Historical Roll of Nova Scotia Land Surveyors

History of Newfoundland Land Surveyors

List of provincial land surveyors for the Province of Quebec 1878

Upper Canada list of provincial land surveyors, to 31 Dec 1857

List of land surveyors for the Province of Saskatchewan

List of Land Surveyors for the Province of Alberta 1911-2013

Nominal Roll of BC Land Surveyors

Provincial Land Surveyors of British Columbia 1891

Tribute to Surveyors, Australia

Roster, professional engineers, land surveyors, engineers in training; Montana

California Land Surveyors licenses issued 1891-2000

Proceedings, constitution, by-laws, list of members etc of the surveyors association of west New Jersey - 1867

Notable Surveyors, USA

Surveyors list from Surveyor General Report Pennsylvania 1866

Canada Land Survey Search






Related Posts:  Location, Location, Location and Lay of the Land



Sunday, 6 December 2015

Serendipity Sunday - Most Secret Secret Agents



During my research of my military ancestor, I came across a list of UK secret agents from WWII. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a UK organization during WWII, formed to carry on espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe.



Relevant Links 









Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Licensed Victualer




My great grandfather George Singleton was a licensed victualer in Liverpool. He got his license as a transfer from the family of the deceased Thomas Bunson and his Public House was on Queen Ann St and Wakefield St in Liverpool.


Liverpool Daily Post, 28 November 1862.


The city directories for Liverpool don't give the pub a name, just George Singleton at 2-4 Wakefield Street, corner of Queen Ann Street, living at 54 Roscommon Street. Later in the 1894 Kelly's Directory of Liverpool that pub at 2 Wakefield is called the Queen's Arms and is owned by Eubert Edward who lives on Ravenscroft. George Singleton now owns the Richmond Arms on Richmond Row. He is also there during the 1891 census. 




If you have an ancestor who was a licensed victualler you may find him mentioned in the newspapers and local city and trade directories. Here below are other places you may find your ancestor.




Relevant Links