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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Why You Can't Find an Ancestor in the 1851 Canadian Census

Sharon recently wrote to

My ancestor John Davis was born in Whitechurch in 1820.  So were his children.  I can not find any census of Whitechurch, was the name changed, if so, to what?

Hello Sharon,

Here is a link to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) where the list of surviving census returns for 1851 are listed. Many did not survive.

I'm afraid Whitchurch was one that has not survived the years. You may want to look for alternate records for that time period.

Perhaps land records might prove helpful. See Ontario Land Records.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Start with Yourself and Work Backwards

This question came to Ask Olive Tree Genealogy today. The answer is so simple I'm jumping Joanne to the head of the queue! 

My name is Joanne Rich (married name)
Joanne Bersane (maiden name)
Bersane name comes from Italy, not sure about married name. How do I find out if ancestors were Jewish
 Joanne - Genealogy research is always done the same way. You start with yourself and work backwards. Gather documentation of your parents, their parents, and so on. Documentation consists of census records, birth records, marriage records, death records, obituaries and more. Ask older family members for details of their births, marriages, places of residence, information on their parents and grandparents, etc

See for more help

Keep going backwards in time, tracing your family ancestry. As you trace back you should discover information on religion and ethnicity of your ancestors.

Lastly, be prepared to spend the next dozens of years researching. Genealogy is not a quick fix. It's not fast and it's not always easy. 

Best of luck!