Viewing Tip

If you see a large "X" at the top right of Ask Olive Tree Genealogy blog, click on the "X" to close it. Closing the "X" will give you the best viewing experience and allow you to leave a comment on a blog post

Monday, January 7, 2013

How to Find a Professional Genealogist

Patti sent a query to Olive Tree Genealogy. Because of privacy concerns on my part, I'm editing out the details of the person Patti is looking for. Her main question can be easily answered.

I am doing family tree research and am looking for xxx born xxx 1936, Ontario County, Ontario Canada. Sc ottish/German Descent.
Went to University of xxx. Served with the xx in xx.
His mother and Father were both dead by the time he was 28.
I am having trouble finding a genealogist who works in Ontario specifically.
Thank you for any help you can give me!

All you need do is visit the APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) website and click on "Chapters" at the bottom of the page.

Then scroll down until you see "Ontario" and click on the link provided to go to the Ontario Chapter of the APG. Click on "Members" and you will see very long list of Genealogists who specialize in Ontario research.  For your convenience here is the direct link

You could have approached this in a different way - by joining and writing to the Ontario Mailing List on Rootsweb.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ships Passenger Lists From Italy

John S. asked Olive Tree Genealogy for help finding a ships passenger list:
I am having difficulty finding the arrival record of my great grandfather in North America.  I know that he lived in the province of Cosenza, Italy & departed Naples, Italy in the 1884 time frame identified as Napoleon Bellaspica Lepera.  Are passenger departure lists available for Naples during this time frame?
John - Ships Passenger lists for North America are best searched by arrival country or port, not departure port. The manifests were made at the port of departure, then turned in at the port of arrival.

You should be able to find your ancestor in ships lists on These manifests are indexed and linked to online images for both Canada and USA.

Be sure to use wildcards when searching as Lepera could be easily misspelled or badly transcribed. I would  search using L*P*R* to pick up alternate spellings. Also, upper case "L" can be mistaken for upper case "S" by indexers so you may need to try a second search using S*P*R*

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy Birthday to Ask Olive Tree Genealogy

Wow! Happy 3rd birthday!

January 3, 2009 was the date of my first blog post on Ask Olive Tree Genealogy.

Since then  I've answered 463 queries and challenging brick wall genealogy puzzles for readers.

Keep 'em coming, I love doing this!

It's also my youngest grandson's first birthday today.

Happy Birthday Sawyer!

Happy Birthday image courtesy of digitalart /

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Searching for England Records Before Civil Registration

Christine asked about genealogy records in Durham England.

 I have stumbled on a brick wall that I cant seem to get past and wonder if you can help point me in the right direction.My Gt gt gt grandfather John reay( 1790c) and his wife elizabeth ? nee Barker(1796c born in whitby)  are named as parents of Edward REAY in Upleatham yorkshire in 1819 on the Baptism certificate( IGI).they then went on to have John and William 1926 [sic] Hannah 1831, Robert 1832, betsy ann 1836 in Shinclffe durham.

IN 1841 census  Elizabeth reay is listed as independant, and there is no sign of John.  I cant find birth certificates for the children, nor can i find any marriage for Elizabeth and John or any evidence he existed except for the baptism certificate. In 1851 elizabeth is listed as Murray and a widow in Hartlepool, but I have no idea who or when she remarried or when John ( supposibly died). Where can i search next??
Christine - You won't find a birth registration for the children because English Birth Registrations did not begin until 1837.

However you can search for Church and Parish records of baptisms and other vital records. Because I am not familiar with Durham research, I began with a quick Google search for Durham Church Records. Of course you can use any Search Engine you prefer such as Bing or Yahoo.

Durham Church Records are online at and a very quick look under baptisms brought up the baptism record index for Betsy Ann, Hannah and Robert all baptised in Shincliffe. There is also a marriage in 1819 for John Rea [sic]. You may wish to consult this to see if it is the right couple.

I'd also check Durham University's databases online. I found that website with a Google search and notice they have Probate records.

You mentioned you checked the IGI but a better course of action might be FamilySearch collections that they have been putting online. I did a very cursory search and found the marriage of John and Elizabeth in the extracted marriages for York. They married 18 Aug 1816 in Loftus [Source: England, Marriages, 1538–1973]. So now you have other places to search. If I were you I'd start a timeline of findings so that you can get a sense of what location(s) you might find the family in.

Their son Edward is found in baptismal records as being baptised 01 November 1816 (not 1819 as you stated) in Loftus so it looks like they married just in time...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Barnardo's Children Query

Marg wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy with an intriguing query

My grandfather died in 1882 and his wife just a year later (in Sunderland workhouse. ) I'd been told by someone that she thought the younger children were adopted and have found trace of one of them. But the youngest child isn't in any records that I can find, til he appears on [in the 1881 census]

He is Joseph D. L. Stansfield, born in approx. 1880, parents Thomas and Mary Ann Foster Stansfield (nee Maule). Someone has just told me that he thinks that Joseph was sent to Canada by Barnardos.
Ships Passenger List Parisian 1888
Dear Marg - There is a Joseph Stansfield who matches your Joseph on board the ship Parisian in 1888. He is part of a group of children with Maria Rye Homes, heading for Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario.  He is 8 years old. You can search the index on Collections Canada at the link above, or you can view the image on

One caveat - he is misindexed on Ancestry as "Jno" (which is why using wildcards is an important tool in genealogy research) His is the last name on the graphic on the left. It is only part of the page of the ship Parisian's manifest.

There is a lot of information on Miss Rye's Niagara-on-the-Lake Home for children at Canadian British Home Children   Sadly there seems to be no information on where Miss Rye's records were kept, or even if they were saved when she was no longer in business. If your Joseph had been part of Barnardo's you could have sent for his records but Miss Rye was not a Barnardo home.

You can also find more information on Miss Rye and her home children at Immigrants to Canada
There are two researchers who are reconstructing her records as best they can. Please see this page for details

His marriage record is found on dated June 24, 1908. His full name is given as Joseph David Lionel Stansfield and he is age 29, born England, a bookkeeper. He gives his mother's name as Mary A. Foster, but did not provide his father's name. His bride was Edith McCarthy and they married in Toronto.

You should be able to find him on the 1891 and 1901 census, perhaps even 1911. In fact I took a quick look and found Joseph and Edith with their two children in the 1911 census for Toronto. If you are using he's misindexed as "Joye" but remember you can always search under his wife's name if you are unable to find him.

There are two sons - one is 3 years old and another son whose name is so illegible I can't even make an educated guess as to what it is. This son is 4 months old so I had a look and found the birth records of both children - Lionel Thomas Stansfield was born 25 May 1909 and his little brother Randolph Ferguson Stansfield was born 9 February 1911.

I think you should be able to find more about Joseph and his descendants with this start.