Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Twitter “Lists”

I have just started following some twitterers that have created genealogy lists. “Lists” are a new feature of Twitter, and I have no idea what they’re all about, but, if it puts me in contact with more genealogists faster than following them individually, then I guess it’s a good feature.

To create a new list, you go to your Profile page on Twitter. There is a drop-down box of your lists in the lower right corner:

To see the people with lists that are following you, just select the “listed” and a page of lists opens,

with the members with lists who are following you and the lists that you are following.

There is a section in the right sidebar of your Twitter home page with a collapsible Lists that you follow.
You can view the List page of the members and see all of the lists that they created.

I don’t know how Lists is different from Twibes, but I’ll try it and see if there are any advantages.

Filed under: Genealogy, Research Resources, ,

Follow Friday – Cape Cod Gravestones

If you’re ancestors were first families in and around Plymouth Colony, chances are that you will find their names on 17th, 18th & 19th Century Cape Cod Gravestones. There is an index to all of the cemeteries in Cape Cod, and if you are lucky, there may be a photo of the markers. I found quite a few photos of ancestors graves, here are some examples:

Ebenezer Nickerson 1768

Joshua Doane

From the website:

Mission Statement

A major goal is to photograph and display the most interesting old gravestones in Barnstable County before they are lost to the ravages of time. A related goal is to provide reasonably complete gravestone records from the earliest in 1683 up to 1880 or later for all Barnstable County cemeteries. Information about the gravestone carvers and gravestone styles is included. Reference sources for cemetery surveys done over the last one hundred years are provided for further research.

Search Suggestion

If you want to search for a specific name on this large web site, go to the Google search engine at In the search box enter capecodgravestones+name. There should be no space before or after the + sign. For example, if you are searching for Marcy Freeman, enter in the search box capecodgravestones+Marcy+Freeman. The search result will be a listing of links to Marcy Freeman. To search for all the Mulfords, enter capecodgravestones+Mulford in the Google search box. Click on the link “Repeat the search with the omitted results included” to display all the links. Most links go directly to sections of this web site but some links go to other web sites which link back to this web site. In limited tests this search procedure works well with Google! The procedure does not work with some other search engines.

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Doane/Doan, Family Files, Follow Friday, Genealogy, Photos, Research Resources, ,

Tidbits Gleaned From Small-Town Newspapers

I thought maybe I’d find some family births, marriages and obits when I started searching the old newspapers, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The Essex Free Press is a small-town weekly newspaper filled with all of the news from the county. If you want to find out who bought what farm for how much and where the previous owners were relocated to, you read the Essex Free Press. When the December exams and June report cards came out, the students’ grades were published in the paper. There was nothing that wasn’t newsworthy, so and so had a cold, stop the presses!

My family has been in Essex County for over a hundred years and some were involved in local government. I was surprised to find so many references to my ancestors and their daily lives.
I discovered that my greatgrandfather’s family moved to Alberta in the spring of 1918 because of my greatgrandfather’s health. He had suffered from gall stones for years and at that time, Alberta was the place to go for health problems. Maybe it was the mountain air, or the warm spring water in Banff, but, for whatever reason, they went there. They returned in October, with no improvement to his health. He passed away in December of 1918, when my grandmother was six years old.

Another article gave me a lot of information about my grandmother’s family, my dad didn’t have much information about them to share as he would just sit on the front porch while my grandmother visited because he didn’t understand French and their family just came to Ontario from Quebec in 1890.

My granduncle was the first casualty of the First WW in the town of Essex:

There is over a century of my family’s history here, some amusing, some embarrassing, some tragic, but all in all, I’d rather read a small-town newspaper and learn alot more about the people than a big-city paper that doesn’t have the time or space for all of the everyday events that occur in a small-town.

Filed under: Genealogy, Obituaries, Research Resources, , ,

Weekly Genealogy Prompt #29 – My Favourite Canadian Genealogy Websites

My Canadian genealogy is divided into several different time periods which I am interested in. First, the Acadians, who came to the maritimes from France in the early 1600’s, then there are the Canadiens, who came to the Quebec region in the 1600’s as well. The Loyalists came to Upper Canada in the late 1700’s, the Quakers, soon after the Loyalists. Each period in history is unique and I am listing my favourite websites for each of them.

Here is a list of a few of my favourite websites for researching:
Acadian genealogy:

  1. Acadian Roots
  2. Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management
  3. New Brunswick Provincial Archives

Canadien genealogy:

  1. Quebec Archives
  2. McGill University Library
  3. Your Folks

Loyalist genealogy:

  1. United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada
  2. Upper Canada Genealogy
  3. Ontario Genealogy
  4. Our Ontario

Quaker genealogy

  1. The Quaker Archives and Library of Canada

Filed under: Genealogy, Research Resources, Weekly Prompts/09, ,

Genealogy Prompt #28 – The Magic of Rootsmagic

I have been using Rootsmagic genealogy software for a few years, I started with version 3 and upgraded to version 4 when it was released in the spring. When I started researching my family history I used the PAF program to record my data. Although it was functional, and free, I wanted a program that had more features and was more user-freindly.

I used trial versoins of different programs until I found the one I liked. That was Rootsmagic, it has all of the bells and whistles anybody could ask for, editing, reports, charts, records, pdf. books, shareable CDs, scrapbooks etc.

The shareable CDs are fully functional Rootsmagic programs that only have one database, and is uneditable. Everything works just like the original program, even the web search feature! Books, reports, charts etc. are all printable. The opening page of the program is editable also, you can have a Title page with photos, if desired. I am going to be making some at my family reunion.

I really like the Rootsmagic-to-go feature in version 4, you can have a fully functional program anywhere you go, installed on a USB flash drive. If hard drive space is a premium, you don’t have to install the program on your computer. You can take it everywhere and open and edit the data when and where you are doing research, instead of gathering info to enter into your program when you get home, so that your database is kept up -to-date more accurately and efficiently.

Filed under: Genealogy, Research Resources, Weekly Prompts/09,

Is GenealogyWise Being Wise?

I joined GenealogyWise a few days ago after reading Randy Seaver’s blog at Genea-musings, when there were only 19 groups and a couple of hundred members. I had received an email earlier in the day from, requesting help in launching the site. They were looking to hire 15 people to work for 10 hours to help get the site ready for the launch date, on July 17th. I thought that they wanted people with experience in IT field, but they just wanted people to create as many groups as they could think of in 10 hours, it seems. The membership is growing but not nearly as fast as the groups! There were about 1900 members and over 1100 groups this morning.

I have started receiving what I would call “spam” in my inbox, from members who were hired to promote the site. I don’t think creating thousands of groups will promote anything, it seems as if the creators are just concerned with “who can make the most groups”. I joined a couple of groups at first, but now I don’t think I’ll stay with the ones that were created by the “employees” of, how can they possibly expect to manage and monitor all of the groups that they create? Or will they abandon them after a few weeks? I did join the Geneabloggers group there and some special interest groups, but, unless a group is highly reccommended I will not be joining any more.

Filed under: Genealogy, Research Resources, ,

The Willett Genealogy – Imperfect and Incomplete

I ran across the genealogies of the Willet families of England and America at It has been an attempt to discover the origins of the branches of the families with the surname of Willetts/Willet/Willits in America and if and how they are related, written a century ago.

It is not at all impossible that there are errors in this genealogy; and we will be pleased to have pointed out to us such as may be discovered. In the main, however, we believe it to be fairly perfect. There have been several attempts to compile the genealogy of a single branch of the Willett family, but this is the first time the entire family has been brought together in one grand reunion.

The author goes on to explain where he accumulated his information, with blank pages entered for the purpose of further information and corrections in the future. This is a unique book, both in it’s format and in the attitude that the researcher takes, that, although there may be some errors, he tried his best to make it as accurate as possible and admits that where there is conflicting information, he weighed it and though it may be circumstantial, he entered the likeliest information with notes about the conflicting information.

J.E. Bookstaver, the author and a descendant of the Willetts family doesn’t try to convince the reader that he is an expert and he makes no claims to royalty, as was the fashion of the time for genealogists. He just put his research out there, ready for anyone to add to it or correct as needed. I think he was way ahead of his time.

Filed under: Doane/Doan, Family Files, Genealogy, Research Resources, ,

Curious Fox Message Boards

One of the most useful tools I have found for contacting family members doing genealogy research are message boards and forums. I have made the majority of my family connections by posting brickwalls and queries to message boards. Patience is mandatory for this though, most of the time there may not be a response for months, even years after posting messages. There are the popular message boards on, Rootsweb, etc. Most genealogy sites have some form of message board or forum.
I discovered a new site solely intended for posing messages and queries, Curious Fox. Well I discovered it last year, but it was in Beta. Now, it’s out of Beta and up and running. You can search a place name or surname in any of the United States, but they also have links to their message board sites for the United Kingdom and Ireland at the bottom of the page. I think this will be a very popular site in the future.

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

Resuscitating “Living Genealogy 2.0“

Reading Randy Seaver’s blog about “I Remember“, Footnote Pages for Facebook reminded me of a similar site that I discovered about a year and a half ago. It is Living Genealogy 2.0., a free site where you can make ancestor pages and places pages and others can add comments, stories, pictures. There are great features on this site, such as the Image Gallery. Each picture has a separate link, but when you go to the image gallery, the images are full-size images and you can navigate between pictures.There are user genealogy blogs and user groups as well.
I forgot all about the site and the blog after making a few ancestor pages and a place page. I put a link in my profile on Facebook. The site hasn’t had much traffic lately, I guess most everybody forgot about it. Here is my grandmother’s page: Ruby Fairbairn and her grandmother’s page: Jane McDowell Fairbairn. I made a places page of the Niagara Region also.
I hope that the website recovers, it is a great idea, but needs more traffic. Now that it`s joined Twitter it may be able to get enough traffic to survive. The problem with Twitter is that you have to use it for it to be any good, just getting followers isn`t going to do it, they have to send out some tweets once in a while and let people know about the site.

Filed under: Genealogy, Research Resources,

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Top 10 Genealogy Sites

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Top 10 Genealogy Sites

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

July 2020