December 22, 2014

First Canadian Christmas Carol: T'was In the Moon of Wintertime (Jesous Ahatonhia)

Twas in the Moon of Wintertime (Jesous Ahatonhia)

Twas in the Moon of Wintertime (Jesous Ahatonhia)
A few years ago I wrote about this beautiful Huron Christmas Carol. I love it so much I'm bringing it back. It is the first Canadian Christmas Carol  written by the Jesuit Missionary Jean de Brebeuf circa 1643 for the Huron Indians in the wilderness of what is now Ontario. The Jesuits ministered to the Hurons at Ste Marie - a wilderness fortified village.

In 1649 the Iroquois, enemies of the Hurons, attacked and the Jesuit fathers set fire to the village fort rather than see it fall into Iroquois hands. Father Brebeuf and 7 others were tortured and killed by the Iroquois. The eight martyred missionaries were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930, and are known in Canada as the Canadian Martyrs.

The village has been reconstructed at the original site and is now a living museum as well as complete working village. Ste Marie Among the Hurons is a very popular tourist attraction in the Georgian Bay area and it is not far from my home.

Written in the Huron language, Father Brebeuf's Huron Carol is called Jesous Ahatonhia meaning Jesus is Born. It was not translated until the early 1900s at which time it was translated to French. In 1926 it was finally translated to English.  It is still a very popular hymn sung by Canadian school children and in churches. The English version is called "T'was in the Moon of Wintertime" and it is a haunting melody based on a 16th century French Canadian Melody. 
  I love this carol, I find it very stirring and can picture the Hurons sitting with the Jesuit fathers in the middle of our cold snowy winters, listening to the missionaries sing. As well it has many meaningful connections for me - first, I live near Ste. Marie Among the Hurons. Secondly, Father Brebeuf, now the patron saint of Canada, baptised my half-9th great grand uncle Francois-Joseph Hertel in Trois-Rivieres in 1642 during the short time he was in Quebec recuperating from a broken shoulder. Lastly, I am descended from Francois-Joseph Hertel's half sister Ots Toch, a half Mohawk, half French woman from New York who went on to marry the Dutchman Cornelis Van Slyke. The Mohawk were part of the Iroquois Confederacy, the enemy of the Hurons at Ste. Marie. 

As children, we Canadians learn this song in school. It still brings shivers when I hear it. 

And now without further ado, here is the Huron Carol Jesous Ahatonhia on video sung in the original Huron language version followed by the French version and a slightly different English version translated by Father Kierans

Huron Wendat Language Version

Estennialon de tsonwe
Jesous ahatonhia
Onnawatewa d' oki
n' onwandaskwaentak
Ennonchien skwatrihotat
n' onwandilonrachatha
Jesous ahatonhia Jesous ahatonhia

English Version by Middleton, most often sung

Another version of this beautiful carol
The Huron Carol ('Twas In The Moon of Winter Time)

'Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark the tender babe was found;
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped his beauty round
But as the hunter braves drew nigh the angel song rang loud and high
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt with gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free, O sons of Manitou
The holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy who brings you beauty peace and joy.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Thanks to FootnoteMaven for having Christmas Blog Caroling  again this year.

December 21, 2014

Baby Boy Hacht - Dead, or Kidnapped and Alive Today??

"A baby boy who was never named was born in July 1944, in Detroit, Michigan.  The family believes that he was kidnapped and another dead baby substituted for Baby Boy Hacht.  While at first this sounds improbable, if not incredulous, it isn’t." Source:DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy
Baby Boy Hacht's sister Patti and her brothers are looking for answers through the use of DNA. You, or someone you know, may be the key to this puzzle.

"The Y DNA of Baby Boy Hacht or his male child or male grandchild through a son will match that of Patti’s brother.  The autosomal DNA of Baby Boy Hacht or his children or grandchildren of any gender will match with Patti and her family." Source: DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

 This incredible story needs no further explanation from me. Please read the full blog post at DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

December 20, 2014

Paperback Version of Filling in the Gaps Now Available

My first venture into the world of creating a paperback book has been published! I'm pretty excited about this.

 Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada is available in paperback format on CreateSpace and also on Amazon.

Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada Paperback version on

It is also available as an e-Book on Amazon. You don't need a Kindle to read it, you can download the free Kindle cloud reader for your computer, phone or tablet.

Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada (available as an e-book on 

Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada  (available as an e-book on

December 19, 2014

Nursing Sister Phillips WW1 Album 17R

This Photo Archive consists of a small autograph album (6.5" by 5.25") kept by Constance (Connie) Philips as a memento of her time serving as a nurse during World War One.  

The majority of the photos and items are from 1915, when she served as a nurse in France and Britain. 

The album and all photographs, postcards, and other ephemera contained in the album belong to Karin Armstrong and may not be copied or republished without her written permission. The images will be published on Olive Tree Genealogy with permission. 

Nursing Sister Phillips WW1 Album 17R a Ward
Page 17R. A Ward
Each image has been designated an "R" for Recto or a "V" for Verso plus an album page number. Recto is the right-hand side page of a bound book while Verso is the left-hand side page. 

I will be posting the entire album and my additional research on the individuals identified in Connie's album over the coming months so please check back frequently to view these historic photos. The easiest way to see what has been published is to click on the topic "Nursing Sister WW1 Photos" in the vertical menu bar on the right side of your screen. You can also click on that phrase at the bottom of this post.

December 18, 2014

Helpful Relationship Chart on Crestleaf

Do the terms "Second cousin twice removed" or "grand-aunt" confuse the heck out of you? 

Helpful Relationship Chart on Crestleaf
Image courtesy of
Crestleaf has released a helpful chart and infographic to help people see how they're related to other family members and their relationship to them in their family tree. 

It's easy to use - check it out at

December 17, 2014

New Season of Who Do You Think You Are Starts February 24

All-new season set to premiere February 24

The two-time Emmy nominated series is back with eight new hour-long episodes and a brand new batch of celebrity contributors. Executive Produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? continues to shed light on the mysterious, and often surprising, family histories of some of America’s famous faces. The season premieres Tuesday, February 24 at 10/9c. 
Screen Capture from TLC New Season Teaser

Today TLC announces half of the featured celebrity contributors in the upcoming season, which includes:
·        Julie Chen, who brings the series to China for the first time ever and learns about her grandfather’s brave and generous contributions to his country.
·         Angie Harmon, who meets a family member she didn’t know existed, and learns that he fought under George Washington.
·         Sean Hayes, who travels to Ireland to learn more about his father’s side of the family.
·         Bill Paxton, who reads captivating first-hand accounts of wartime battles in which his four times great grandfather was involved, and walks in his footsteps at the site where he fought a battle in the American Revolution., the world’s largest online family history resource, is teaming up again with TLC as a sponsor of the upcoming season. As part of the show sponsorship, Ancestry provides exhaustive family history research on each of the featured celebrities, which is used to build out the story of each episode.

Watch the new season teaser

Last summer’s season of WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? averaged 1.4M P2+ viewers. The series is produced for TLC by Shed Media and Is or Isn’t Entertainment, and is based on an original format created by Wall to Wall Media and Alex Graham. More information can be found at 

 ‘Like’ Who Do You Think You Are? on and follow @WDYTYA on Twitter.

December 16, 2014

DNA links 5,500 year old remains to 200x Great-Grandaughter

This is an exciting find for scientists who studied DNA from various individuals in an attempt to match them with four very old skeletons found previously.

The study used DNA samples from 60 modern members of the indigenous Tsimshian, Haida and Nisga’a tribes from the Metlakatla First Nation for a study.  The samples were compared with mitochondrial DNA extracted from the teeth of four ancient people: two skeletons aged 6,000 years and 5,500 years unearthed in an ancient shell midden on Lucy Island, and two skeletons aged 5,000 years and 2,500 years found on Dodge Island.

Three living individuals had DNA matches with the older Dodge Island skeleton, and three of the skeletons matched at least one living person.  The oldest Lucy Island skeleton didn’t match any living relatives, but did match a 10,300-year-old skeleton previously unearthed on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. [Source: Abroad in the Yard]

Continue reading this fascinating story at

DNA links 5,500 year old remains of aboriginal woman found in Canada and her 200 x great-grandaughter who still lives nearby

You too can test your DNA with Ancestry DNA Kit Please note that these kits can only be shipped to a USA address.

December 15, 2014

Update on WW1 Military Files Digitized by Library & Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced earlier that progress has been made in their project to digitize the complete files of all Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) members from WW1
Update on WW1 Military Files Digitized by Library & Archives Canada
Part of digitized CEF file for M. G. McGinnis
As of today, 101,452 of 640,000 files are available online via the Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.

I searched for my Vollick and Peer relatives but so far their files have not been digitized. 

However I found the digitized file for Nursing Sister Mary Geraldine McGinnis who was born in London Ontario in 1893.

There are 33 pages in her file and it makes for interesting reading.

LAC is adding files every week to this huge project.