Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

December 1st – Our Christmas Tree Tradition

When I was growing up, there were no trips out into the bush to cut a fresh tree. If we had put up a real tree, by Christmas Day there would have been just a pile of needles, because we always put the tree up on Mom’s birthday, November 30th. It was that way from my first memories until I was out on my own. I am publishing this post a day early, in memory of my mother’s birthday.

Mom and dad did their best to get the most realistic artificial tree that they could. I remember one year, they bought a new tree, life-like needles and this thing hanging at the centre of the tree that looked like a hand grenade. well, it was supposed to be a pine cone that, when squeezed, sent a puff of evergreen scent into the air. It was filled with the most awful smelling powder. Dad got one whiff of it and it was in the trash.

I was in charge of the lights, untangling the lights for the tree and checking to see if they worked, I think I got the job because of my patience, which helped me get through the teen years with my two boys. I put all of the lights on the tree and drape the tree in garland then the younger kids would decorate the tree, well, half of the tree anyway. Why do kids always hang ornaments at their eye level? After they hung a half-dozen ornaments, they wanted to go play, so I finished up.

We didn’t take our tree down until the first week of January and by that time it was pretty sad looking, garland falling off, icicles all over the place and burnt out light bulbs, but no needles! I ended up taking the tree down myself the last few years I was at home, and that’s the way it has always been since.

This is my first post of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers

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Filed under: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2009, Special Events, , ,

I’m The One Holding The Camera!

I have been looking through my photos, getting ready to scan a lot of them, and I was reminiscing, as we all do when looking at family photos. I found all of the pictures I have of my mother, not very many, either she was on the other end of the camera or there was no camera available to take pictures.

I started looking at how many pictures I had of myself, not too many, and I decided that I would have to start letting other people take pictures so that my kids would have some photos to remember me by. I can’t use the excuse of not having any cameras around, I have a 35mm Minolta, two digital cameras and hubby has one on his phone, but I’m usually the one taking pictures. What I have to do from now on is either have a mirror in the picture that I’m taking, get my timing right so I can use the timer on the cameras or let someone else take some of the pictures.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has done this, whether you are the one behind the camera or you are camera-shy and don’t like your picture taken. Take stock of the pictures that you have of yourself, and see if you are satisfied with what you are leaving for future generations to remember you by. What do they collectively say about your life? Do they show a mosaic of who you are, what you enjoy doing, where you’ve traveled, the milestone events in your life, the humourous times? If you aren’t, then give the camera to someone else the next time you take it out, and “Smile”.

Filed under: Genealogy, ,

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Celebrity Look-alikes

From Randy at Genea-musings – It’s Saturday Night again – are you ready for some Genealogy Fun?

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to find which celebrities that have the same facial features that you (or someone else you choose) have. Here are the directions:

1) Go to http://www.myheritage.com/ – you don’t have to be a registered member to use this feature. Click on the “Celebrities and Fun” tab.

2) Click on the “Celebrity Collage” tab, and then on the “Create my Collage” button.

3) Upload a photograph with your face (or another person’s face) to the site (the face must be at least 100 x 100 pixels) and click on the “Run face recognition” button.

4) Select a collage template, and the faces (up to 8) to go into the collage template. Click on “Next” and “Preview” your template, which should bring up the template for you to review. You could click on “Save” and it would go off to your selected social networking site.

5) Figure out how to show your collage on your blog or social network site (I have my own process defined below).

6) Tell us which celebrities that you (or your selected person) look alike – write your own blog post, make a comment to this post or on Facebook.

7) Think about how you could use something like this as a Christmas gift.

Here’s Mine:

I was told when I was younger that I looked like Susan Dey, she didn’t even make the list!
I think it all depends on the photo you use, or in my case, whether you wear make-up or not!
I think I should maybe start wearing make-up, lol. I don’t think you could use this for a gift, maybe along with a Shopper’s Drug Mart gift card?

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, ,

How Easy Is That? Getting My License


I have been putting off getting a Creative Commons license to protect my blog content because I didn’t know how to go about it, but it was just a matter of filling in a form and choosing which license I needed and copying and pasting HTML code into a box!

I want to share the information on my blog with fellow researchers and anyone who is just curious, but I don’t want to have it used to promote a company or product, so I decided on this license option:

Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported.

You are free:

to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work

Under the following conditions:

  • AttributionYou must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

    What does “Attribute this work” mean?
    The page you came from contained embedded licensing metadata, including how the creator wishes to be attributed for re-use. You can use the HTML here to cite the work. Doing so will also include metadata on your page so that others can find the original work as well.

  • NoncommercialYou may not use this work for commercial purposes.

  • No Derivative WorksYou may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

With the understanding that:

  • Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
  • Public Domain — Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
  • Other Rights — In no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:
    • Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations;
    • The author’s moral rights;
    • Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.
  • Notice — For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.

As I have other persons’ work on my site (my mother’s poetry, guest posts, etc.), I felt that the best way to protect it was to use this Non-Derivative license because I don’t want to see my mother’s poetry set to music or altered in any way without my knowledge or permission. You may choose other less restricted options for your site here: Creative Commons Licenses. If I’d known how easy it was to get my license I would have gotten it a long time ago.

Filed under: Blogging, ,

Geneablogger’s Winter 2009 Cookbook – Call for Recipes


Time is running out for getting those favourite recipes submitted in time for the Geneablogger’s Winter Cookbook 2009 edition. The deadline for inclusion in this year’s cookbook is December 1st, and it is coming up in a few days.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, ,

Geneabloggers Winter Cookbook- Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookie Cut-Outs
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup molasses
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light, beat in eggs and molasses.
Stir together dry ingredients and gradually stir into molasses mixture with wooden spoon. Mix well, working with hands if necessary.
Divide dough in quarters, shape into disks and wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm, can be refrigerated for up to one week.
Roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 375 F for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool a few minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Gingerbread House Glue

I have made Gingerbread houses for years and I got discouraged by the time it took to assemble using icing to glue the pieces together. I have started making them again because I’ve learned abut a quicker and stronger glue. I was watching the “Christmas at the White-house” a couple of years ago and the chef was making the traditional “Gingerbread White-house” and he was using melted chocolate to glue it together. How simple is that! It firms up and holds after a minute of being chilled. I just assemble the houses in front of a slightly open window. I put melted chocolate into a ziploc bag and cut the tip. When it starts to cool in the bag I put the bag in some hot water, keeping the tip out of the water or in the microwave for a few seconds.

Rolling out Gingerbread pieces

I use the bottom of the baking sheet and roll out the dough right on the sheet and cut it. I remove the scraps and just bake it in the oven. This way, the pieces don’t get stretched by being transferred to the cookie sheet and the pieces fit together better when glued. You have to score the cut lines with a sharp knife when still warm. Make sure that your cookie sheet doesn’t warp when heated, I have a couple of these, they’re still okay for baking cookies but not gingerbread houses.

Cutting out Gingerbread Houses

I use quilting template graph sheets for cutting out gingerbread pieces. They are plastic and see-through and the measurements are easy to read. It is easier and more accurate than cutting out templates from cardboard and trying to get them to fit.

I found the recipe on a Wilton’s forum. I made fondant the old way before for my son’s birthday cake and it was so time-consuming and the fondant was hard to work with (his birthday is the end of July so it was humid). This is easy to make and quick, you can have a batch of fondant in 15 minutes! I am going to use it to make decorations for the gingerbread houses, it’s a lot cheaper than going out and buying candy.

Marshmallow Fondant

1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tbsp water
1 1/2- 1 3/4 cup powder sugar

Place marshmallows in a standard 1 cup measuring cup and push down and pack them in. Place in a microwave safe bowl and add the water. Put in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Just long enough for them to soften and puff up. Take out and stir with a spoon until it is combined well. At this point it looks kind of soupy. Then add the sugar and mix and fold until all is incorporated and it is no longer sticky. I take it out of the bowl when it gets to the point where most of the sugar is incorporated and I knead it in my hands. This takes roughly about 5-7 minutes. Take a fondant roller or a regular rolling pin and roll out just as you would Wilton’s fondant. You can get this fondant almost paper thin and it also repairs well. It’s cheap, easy to work with, and tastes great too.

You can make a large batch of this fondant as well by doing this:

Large batch of Marshmallow fondant:

1- 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
2 tbsp water
2 lbs powdered sugar (8 cups)

Do the same procedure as above.

Fondant is used for cakes and candies. It is rolled out and draped over cakes and gives a professional finish. It can be coloured, flavoured, painted, lustre dusted, transfer pictures, etc. You can make bonbons by dipping fondant balls in chocolate. I made candies and trim that looks like eyelet, trees, snowmen, bricks, etc. It is like edible playdough. It dries out and becomes firm and I just glue it on with icing.

It can be rolled out and used to cover the base of the Gingerbread House too, just take a piece of tinfoil large enough to cover the cardboard base, crumple it up and then smooth it out, not all of the way, leave some bumps in it,just no sharp edges, you can make drifts in it with tinfoil too, just crumple up a piece and shape it, but make sure there is room for the house to sit level. Then you roll out white fondant to about 1/8 ” large enough to cover the base, place the fondant over the tinfoil and the bumps in the tinfoil makes it look like snow. Put the Gingerbread house in place and decorate.

Here is a thread with more tips : Marshmallow Fondant

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, ,

Follow Friday – Next Blog News


I haven’t been doing much blogging this week, but I have still been reading my favourites every morning and for this week’s follow Friday I would like to recommend you try out the Blogger “Next Blog” feature.

The Blogger “Next Blog” is new and improved. In the past it selected blogs at random, from all over the world in several languages. with all kinds of topics. Now, the blog selected is in the same language and covering the same topic as the originating blog. If you start out on a genealogy blog, it will pick other genealogy blogs at random, it is kind of like a Blogger web ring!

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Follow Friday, ,

Treasure Chest Thursday – Grandma’s Table

My grandmother, Josephine Hines, kept this table in her bedroom. It was handed down to her son, John, after her death in 1994. My Uncle John passed away in May of 2001, just a few weeks before my wedding. At my bridal shower, I saw a crystal vase of flowers sitting on a table in the corner that my sister said was a shower gift from her and my niece. I was really surprised when she told me that Grandma’s table was a gift also.


Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Treasure Chest Thursday,

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – My MRUA- It’s a Four-Way Tie!

From Randy at Genea-musings: “Hey, genies, it’s Saturday Night, time for some Genealogy Fun!!”

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (where’s my Mission Impossible music…drat, lost it), is:

1) Who is your MRUA – your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name.

2) Have you looked at your research files for this unknown person recently? Why don’t you scan it again just to see if there’s something you have missed?

3) What online or offline resources might you search that might help identify your MRUA?

4) Tell us about him or her, and your answers to 2) and 3) above, in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or a comment on Facebook or some other social networking site.


My most recent unknown ancestor would be a four-way tie with my 3rd great-grandmothers:

Maria _____, wife of John Freisman, married in Quebec, had one daughter, Elizabeth, before coming to Niagara before 1807when son, John, was baptized at Fort George. In 1851 census, her religion is Catholic, born in Quebec about 1780. I figure that she was probably French-Canadian, so I have searched the Drouin collection for any records of marriage or baptism with no luck. John Freisman was born in England, according to information on children’s 1891 census (Peter Freisman, never married, Elizabeth Freisman, never married and Sarah Freisman Haines). John Freisman is said to have died about 1835.

Lydia _____, wife of Nathaniel Haines, married in Niagara in 1786, children baptized at At. Mark’s Church in Niagara, said to have died about 1805. Nathaniel Haines is said to have died before 1811, lived in Grantham Twp., Lincoln County, UC.

Eliza _____, wife of James Stevenson, married about 1850, daughter, Mary, born 1851 Ontario, James was born in Ireland. Mary married Robert Queen about 1868, marriages were not registered until 1869.

Polly Charlotte ____, wife of Isaac Doan, born in Crowland Twp., Welland County. Polly died in 1874 at the age of 69, which would have made her birth year about 1805. Said to be the daughter of Aaron Doan UEL and Rhoda Cook. Rhoda Cook was the sister of Noah and Moses Cook, builders and owners of the Cook’s Mill, scene of the battle in the War of 1812. In the Doane Family Book, by A.A.Doane, 1902, Aaron and Rhoda had three daughters named Polly, two died young, the third was born in 1805.

My cousin and I have been trying to prove or disprove this. She emailed the Doane family genealogist yesterday and is awaiting a reply.

update:
I decided to do some research of my own this morning and found this in the Doane Family Book Vol 2 and got the answer about if Aaron and Rhoda Cook Doan were Polly’s parents, they weren’t.

619. (Vol. I. #229. p. 240)

AARON^ DOAN (Joseph,^ Israel,'^ Daniel,^ Daniel,^ John'). As one of
the "Tory Doans", Aaron was arrested in 1 784, tried and condemned to death.
In 1 787, however, this sentence was commuted to exile. Aaron went to Canada
and spent the rest of his life in the township of Humberstone; m. Rhoda
Cook. A little more about his children can be found in the land records of
the Ontario Archives. Nine of his children received Crown grants of land.
Benjamin, a son listed in Vol. I, does not appear in these records.

i. Levi,'' Humberstone. Crown grant, June 3, 1817.

ii. Martha;'' m. Manuel Winters of Humberstone, Crown grant, Aug. 22,

1834.
iii. Ruth;'' m. William Pawling of Humberstone, Crown grant, Aug. 19, 1833.
iv. Huldah,'' Crown grant. May 1. 1834.

V. Sarah,'' Crown grant. Feb. 5, 1835.

vi. Mary;'' m. Jacob Wade of Humberstone, Crown grant, Feb. 5, 1835.
vii. Robert,'' of Humberstone. Crown grant, Dec. 3, 1828.
viii. Timothy,'' of Humberstone. Crown grant. Nov. 3, 1831.
ix. Joshua,^ of Humberstone, Crown grant, Dec. 10, 1831.

Source: Land records of the Ontario Archives.

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, ,

Surname Saturday – Tremblay

I chose to explore the “Tremblay” surname today, my great-grandmother’s maiden name. I have posted about Pierre Tremblay and Ozanne Achon, who were my immigrant ancestors. Tremblay and it’s variations is the most common French-Canadian surname, put it into Google translate and it comes back with “Smith”, the most common name in North America! The difference between “Smith” and “Tremblay” is that Smith is a common name that a lot of different families share, with no blood relationship, there was a smith in every village and hamlet in Europe, it was a “nickname”. But people with the name of Tremblay, Trombley, Trimble and variations in North America, ” in their tree, although a common name, are all cousins, descendants of Pierre du Tremble, from La Rochelle, France.

My great-grandmother, Celinase Tremblay was the granddaughter of Pierre Tremblay Romain, the Seignieur of Eboullements, Quebec in the early 1800’s. She was born at Charlevois and was married to Jean Desbiens of Ste-Jerome parish. They migrated to Essex County in 1890, after the birth of their third child with Celina’s parents, Philias Tremblay and Marie-Louise Dallaire, Extended family made the journey as well, but her father died less than a year after arriving, 1n 1891.

Here is my great-grandmother’s family:


As you can see, she had a large family. I found a few newspaper clippings in the Essex Free Press Archives at OurOntario as well:


I have a lot of research yet to do on this family. I found a few records on the Seeking Michigan website for the families that moved across the river. I have to find time to enter all of the sources and images that I’ve discovered into my database, but there’s a lot of searching left to do.

Here is Celina Tremblay Desbien’s pedigree chart:

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Family Files, Genealogy, Surname Saturday, Tremblay, , , ,

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