Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tip Of The Week - Michigan Death Records

In my travels around the net I often find interesting death record databases that I think are worthy of note. So I have decided that each Saturday I will Blog about a database that I have found useful. So with that in mind...........

Seeking Michigan has searchable indexes plus images of death records from 1897 to 1920. This Library of Michigan collection of Michigan death certificates features nearly 1 million records. Information includes the decedent's birth date and place, parents' names and birthplace, cemetery name and location, and much more.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adding Coffin Plates

I am going to spend today adding more coffin plates to my pages. I am working on Frances M Heald right now.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Caretaker of Kabul's British cemetery Rahimullah dies

Last week, after almost 30 years of tending the graves in the British Cemetery — through a two foreign invasions, Taleban rule and a civil war — the elderly caretaker was laid to rest in a Muslim graveyard not far from where he worked.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

DNA From A 4000 Year Old Graveyard

Chinese archeologists have excavated an extraordinary cemetery. Its inhabitants died almost 4,000 years ago, yet their bodies have been well preserved by the dry air.

Read More....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Press Release - WW1 Soldiers killed at Fromelles are identified

While they could not be named individually, three British soldiers were confirmed to be among the 250 soldiers recovered from the mass graves at Pheasant Wood and 128 were confirmed to have served the Australian Army. The remaining 44 are, for the time being, classified as ‘unknown’.

Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said:

“Identification is a challenging task and this has been no exception. We are disappointed that there was insufficient evidence to name British soldiers but I would like to thank the families for the support that they have all given to this project.

“Although no British soldiers could be named, I am pleased that we can confirm three having served with the British Army. What is most important is that these men have all been laid to rest with the dignity and honour they deserve. The identification process will remain open for another four years, and I hope that families will continue to make contact.”

Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, said;

"Of the 250 soldiers found, I am pleased to announce that 203 have been identified as Australians, and that 75 of these have been positively identified by name.

"The number of soldiers that we have been able to identify exceeds even our most optimistic forecasts. We are unlikely to identify every man; however, we will continue to take all reasonable steps to maximise those named in the future.

"Each of the 250 sets of remains that were found have been analysed using all available historical, anthropological, artefact and DNA evidence. For those who have been identified so far, DNA proved to be a key piece of the identification puzzle.

"I am also pleased to say that we have strong reason to believe that more identification could occur in the future.”

A Joint Identification Board, with members representing the British and Australian Governments, considered the available evidence including DNA from the soldiers’ remains and from the families who came forward. Where there was clear and compelling evidence the Board was able to confirm the identities of individual soldiers.

The Board will reconvene in May to consider additional family samples that have only recently been returned from Australia. This additional testing and second Board will help ensure that as many soldiers as possible are identified before the 19 July 2010 commemorative event that will mark the official opening of the new cemetery.

Notes for Editors

1. The full list of names of Australian servicemen who have been identified is available on the Fromelles Project web site
2. The remains of 250 World War 1 soldiers killed in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles were recovered last year and reburied with military honours at a new military cemetery constructed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
3. The reinterment of 249 of the 250 soldiers from Pheasant Wood was completed in mid February. The burials were each conducted in a dignified military ceremony by serving members of both the British and Australian Armies. The remaining soldier, who will be representative of all those who died in the Battle of Fromelles but who have no known grave, will be reinterred during the Commemorative Event on 19 July 2010.
4. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has published a list of names at of those soldiers who may be among those yet to be identified. Families who believe they have connections to, or information on, one of the soldiers are being encouraged to come forward to assist with the process which remain open until 2014.
5. Anyone believing they may be related to a British soldier should contact the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, Historic Casualty & Deceased Estates Casework, Services Personnel and Veterans Agency, Building 182, Imjin Barracks, Gloucester GL3 1HW, email: telephone: +44 (0)1452 712612 x 6303 or 6256.
6. For more information, please contact Roz Britton-Elliot, MOD Press Office, 0207 218 5903.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Pats To All My Irish Ancestors

In honor of St Patricks day I thought I would talk about all my Irish ancestors. I have many Irish ancestors. So many in fact that if asked about my ethnic background I always say Irish first. Truth be told I probably have more English DNA than any thing else but it is my Irish heritage that speaks to me. I think that's perhaps the reason for my love of Irish music. So in honor of all my Irish ancestors who came to North America in search of a better life.............

* William Massey from Delgany, Wicklow Ireland arrived Quebec before 1843. 3rd g grandpa.

* William Montgomery (4th g grpa) from Co Fermanagh left Ireland during War of 1812 with his parents Thomas Montgomery and Mary Johnson (5th g grandparents). They were captured by British off coast of Newfoundland and held prisoners until 1816 then sent to Quebec. Later Thomas and Mary left for Oneida Co. New York but William remained in Quebec and married Jane Graham from Ireland.

* Jane Graham 4th g grandma.

* Cornelius Kennedy born Killarney and his wife Elizabeth Clifford (4th greats) born Co. Derry came to Ontario circa 1847 during Irish Famine. Their daughter Catherine Kennedy (3rd great) also born Ireland.

* Mary Jackson nee McKanor (4th g gramma) and son William Jackson (3rd g grandpa) from Tipperary sailed on Sir Robert Peel to New York in Oct. 1857. Came on to Ontario a few years later.

* James Hogan and wife Ann Hayden came to Ontario from Ireland ca 1843 4th g grandparents.

* James Holden, wife Frances Hamilton (4th g grandparents), son Sinclair Holden (3rd g grandpa) came from Co. Tyrone, Ireland between 1822 and 1826 to Whitby Ontario.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are - Who's On When

The TV genealogy series, Who Do You Think You Are? at 8:00 Eastern/7:00 Central Time is on NBC every Friday. Here is the schedule so you don't miss it:

* March 5 – Sarah Jessica Parker
* March 12 – Emmitt Smith
* March 19 – Lisa Kudrow
* March 26 – Matthew Broderick
* April 2 – Brooke Shields
* April 9 – Susan Sarandon
* April 23 – Spike Lee

Olive Tree Genealogy Blog posted thoughts and critiques of the last two episodes. You can read them at

Episode 1

Episode 2

There is also a companion book which sounds pretty good!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Thoughts on Who Do You Think You Are

It seems like everyone is talking about Who Do You Think You Are. So I guess it is time for me to join the crowd and say something. Having watched the first two episodes I can say for me the second one was a little better than the first. So hopefully it will continue to improve as we go along. It is not that there was anything really bad about the first episode. I just found the second one a little more interesting, perhaps because of my own black ancestry.

There were of course some issues with the genealogy presented in each of the two shows. But you must give the producers a little leeway in this as they are trying to produce an enjoyable and exciting television show that is only one hour in length. No one would want to watch if they did not spice it up a little.

The first two episodes featured Sarah Jessica Parker and football player Emmitt Smith as they journeyed around the United States and the world in search of their ancestors. Now I know most of us can not afford to go flying all over the world looking for our ancestors but fortunately we can do a lot of our research on line with company's like In fact Ancestry was one of the sponsors of Who Do You Think You Are.

In the case of Emmitt Smith they also used DNA testing to explore his ancestry. This DNA testing is quite interesting as it can provide information that you sometimes just can not find any other way. For Emmitt it gave him some insight into his white and native American background that researchers using more traditional methods were unable to find.

So all in all I think it is a good show that is well worth watching. It will inspire many current genealogists to get back to work. I also think it will create a whole new crop of genealogists both young and old to start digging into their family tree.

I just hope all the new genealogists don't take up my place at the microfilm reader.


Monday, March 08, 2010


Today's post on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog is honoring International Women's Day. In honour of the unsung and unknown female ancestors in our family tree, take some time today, this week and this month to pick one and find out more about her.

I am going to spend some time looking for my 5th Great Grandmother Margaret Drummond. I know almost nothing about Margaret other than she was born in Scotland 1780~1820. Not much to go on but I think she deserves another look.