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June 21, 2017

47 Year Old Mystery Solves Murder Victim's Identity

No. 537 grave marker in a potter’s field in Middletown, New York have held unidentified remains for 47 years. An article by Michael Wilson, states "A murdered drug dealer dressed as a man, had lovers of different genders and used several aliases, successfully concealing her identity even well past her death."

Who was the victim and how was her identity revealed? Her burial took place November 7, 1970, her body having been found two weeks earlier. She had no ID and was buried as an unknown person. Many years later, her fingerprints were run through a new database and were matched to a woman arrested several times in the 1960s in Harlem.

I won' t spoil the fascinating tale of how the New York Times solved the mystery using census records, police records and more.  Read the full story in Solved: The 47-Year Mystery of a Murder Victim’s Many Identities

June 19, 2017

Rescued Funeral Card Louis Burmister age 22

Original Funeral Card owned by Lorine McGinnis Schulze
This is another rescued Funeral Card. Louis Burmister was a young man with his whole life ahead of him when he died in 1886.

His Funeral Card reads:

Died at Collingwood on Monday June 21st, 1886, Louis Burmister, aged 22 years and 9 months.

Funeral will leave the family residence, Cedar Street on Thursday June 24th at 1:30 p.m for the Dunkerd Cemetery.

After rescuing this card from a flea market I wanted to give Louis a voice. I began my search at Ancestry. 9 year old Lewis (sic) is found in the 1871 census for Puslinch Township Wellington County Ontario with his rather large family of parents Ludwig (54) and Fredericka (33) and his 5 siblings ages 2 to 13.

Anyone interested in having this Funeral Card can contact me by leaving a comment on this blog post. Be sure to provide your email address.

June 18, 2017

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 38V British Cemetery Le Trepont

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.

British Cemetery Le Trepont
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.

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"

June 16, 2017

A medieval cave has recently been discovered beneath a farmer's field in Shropshire. Apparently the cave was used by a religious order that fought in the Crusades. The Knights Templar would have used this cave and walked its labrynthe of corridors in the 13th Century.


Continue reading this fascinating story Stunning 700-year-old giant cave used by Knights Templar found behind a rabbit hole in the British countryside

One of my ancestors, the Dutchman Jan Damen,  was part of the Crusades and he is in a painting by Jan van Scorel circa 1541.







Jan Damen, far right, one of five members of the Utrecht Brotherhood of Jerusalem Pilgrims

June 14, 2017

Fenian Raids Bounty Applications, 1866-1871

Sample of what can be found in
Fenian Bounty Applications
Good news for anyone who has an ancestor who fought in the Fenian Raids. Ancestry has brought the records for Fenian Raids Bounty Applications, 1866-1871 online.

This database fits very nicely with the Olive Tree Genealogy exclusive database Committee of Safety Minutes from June 1st 1866 in Welland, in the 24 hours preceding the Battle of Ridgeway

Ancestry explains the database:

This database consists of bounty applications for veterans having served during the Fenian Raids of 1866 to 1871 in Canada.

Between 1866 and 1871, the Fenian Brotherhood, Irish nationalists based in the United States, launched raids against Canada in an effort to force the British government to withdraw from Ireland. The raids took place at Campobello Island, New Brunswick; Ridgeway, Ontario; along the Quebec/US border at Eccles Hill and Huntingdon; and in 1871, an attempt was made to invade the province of Manitoba. To combat the Fenian threat, the Canadian Militia in both Ontario and Quebec was called out on several occasions, often for only a few days at a time. The Fenian scare was so widespread in British North America that the Nova Scotia Militia was also called out from time to time, although no raid took place in the colony. 

Decades later, the federal government decided that all those who participated in the defence of Canada during the Fenian raids (and who were still living) would be provided a grant or bounty of $100 upon application under the terms of the Fenian Raid Volunteer Bounty Act (1912). 

Fenian Bounty Applications Index to "D" Names

This database consists of lists of names, applications (2 sided), both allowed and disallowed, for the bounty as well as some records relating to pensions for those who were wounded, taken ill or killed while on active duty.
Application details available may include:

  • Name of Veteran
  • Muster Date
  • Muster Place
  • Discharge Date
  • Battalion

June 12, 2017

Rescued Memorial Cards for Elias & Elizabeth Baker of Bethesda Ontario

Funeral and Memorial Cards are valuable tools for genealogists. Often overlooked as a resource, they can provide invaluable genealogical information.

My husband and I try to rescue these cards whenever we find them at flea markets and antique stores.

For me the joy is researching the individual and giving them a voice. Here is a wonderful find - the Memorial Cards for Elias Baker and his wife Elizabeth. 


Their Memorial cards are folded in two so that you have a front cover (above) then a left and right side when you open the card. Elias' card reads:

In loving memory of Elias Baker who passed away Saturday, November the sixteenth nineteen hundred and twenty-nine aged eighty-four years. Intered in Heise Hill Cemetery, Markham, Ontario.

The left side of the interior of Elias' Memorial card is a traditional verse. His obituary appeared in the Stouffville Tribune in November. The mention of the Burkholder farm was intriguing to me as I am a Burkholder descendant.

Elias' wife Elizabeth's Memorial Card indicates that she died in 1913. Her card reads "Died at Betheseda, on Saturday Nov. 29th 1913, Elizabeth Baker wife of Elias Baker"




 Information on Elizabeth's funeral is given on the right side of her Memorial Card:

The outside of Elizabeth Baker's Memorial Card:


We are happy to pass these cards on to family members. Please leave a comment here on this blog post with your email address, or write me directly at olivetreegenealogy AT gmail.com   Be sure to visit AncestorsAtRest.com for more Funeral Cards and Memorial Cards.

June 9, 2017

Guide to Best Sites for Canadian Research


Excited to see my "Expert's Choice" tip published in Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine.

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine accompanies the BBC series and provides expert family history advice.

Latest guide to all the best sites for researching Canadian roots. With help from Olive Tree Genealogy

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June 5, 2017

Rescued Funeral Card of Helen Irene Hootman

Little Helen Hootman did not live long. She didn't make it to 5 months of life, dying on October 11, 1907 at her home.

This is Helen's funeral card on the left. Her parents' names are given only as Mr. & Mrs. S. T. Hootman, her funeral service was held at home and her burial took place in Maple Hill Cemetery.

A search of Ancestry reveals that little Helen died in Osceola, Clarke Iowa and her mother's initals appear to be D. E.  (Iowa Cemetery Records)

Further searches in the 1910 Pottawattamie, Iowa Census records on Ancestry turned up the likely parents of little Helen: Samuel T. Hootman age 25 and his Dazette E. Hootman age 21 with their toddler Ardelle Hootman aged 1

I had one final brief look at Marriage Records on Ancestry and found Samuel Thomas Hootman marrying Dazette Webber. I'm happy to have rescued this Funeral Card for baby Hootman and hope that a descendant of the family will see it. I am happy to pass it on to a family member - just leave a comment here on this blog post with your email address or email me directly at olivetreegenealogy AT gmail.com

If you are looking for a death record of your ancestor, check out the Funeral Cards and Coffin Plates on AncestorsAtRest.com

June 2, 2017

Search Baptisms 1756-1822 THE OLD DUTCH CHURCH AT TOTOWA New Jersey

Olive Tree Genealogy has been online since February 1996 and in those 20 plus years, I've published many free genealogy records for visitors to use.

The Baptismal Register 1756-1822 from THE OLD DUTCH CHURCH AT TOTOWA New Jersey is just one of many free databases that can be found on my site.

If you have ancestors in New Jersey in this time period, please enjoy looking through the free records on Olive Tree Genealogy. For other New Jersey records see my New Jersey section.