RSS Feed

New Ancestry Review

Ancestry has recently switched over to a new version, I have found pluses and minuses which I am going to talk about here.

The homepage is pretty much the same, no changes as far as I can tell.  The tree itself has stayed pretty much the same, minus some color changes.

Now when you view a ancestor in your tree that’s were the changes have occurred. Now ancestors have what is called a life story, which is a more descriptive timeline then there was before.  The changes include a short bio about your ancestor at the top, then a family connection chart, a map and then the actual timeline starts.

I do like the plotting on the map of were your ancestor lived, events happened etc.

The timeline is now more detailed as then before, so as from before, you had the basics such as the life events of your ancestors and now is included births and deaths of family members and historical insights. You can decide to hide the birth/deaths of family and the historical insights. I think the historical insights are useful if you are looking to understand the world that your ancestors was living in but may not be for those who don’t have that interest. The family member birth and deaths,I could honestly take it or leave it, not something I find particular adding any value.

Hints have stay the same except for the adding of undecided option. This option is allowing one to place a hint there they can review again to see if it correct. I do think that is a value added option, instead of  one disregarding a hint or ignoring it. You could always go back and review your ignored hints but undecided is much more of reminder or way of not losing a possible lead.

Overall I wasn’t sure at first if I like the new Ancestry, I think that is a case dealing with the change over and having to figuring things out again.  It did take me some getting use to  the new Ancestry at first. Besides the above changes  and some small changes, I would say that Ancestry has done a good job with the new update.

One option I would like to see added in future updates, is the ability to add a grandchild whose parents are unknown, I have come across this multiple times in my family tree and find it frustrating when you can’t add the child to the family without knowing the parents.

As always, thanks for reading



Glasgows of Leitholm, Berwickshire, Scotland

I am connected to a Glasgow family in Leitholm and I have been having  trouble getting very far with this family.  What I know and what I believe is the right path:

I have a John Glasgow married to a Agnes Fairbarin in 1811 in Berwickshire. The family is living in Leitholm, Bewickshire, Scotland

The following children are confirmed:

Elspeth who married a James McDougall(my line) and her name is showed as Eliza or a Elizabeth on Canadian censuses. Elspeth was born about 1812 in Berwickshire. She and James ended up immigrating to Canada. I have been unable to found a birth or marriage record for Elspeth but I am fairly certain the above are her parents.

Robert who married a Elizabeth Wright in England and they did end up back in the Berwickshire area. Robert was born about 1815 and no birth record but on the marriage record the father’s name matches up with John Glasgow.

Euphans or Euphemia who was baptize on 26 Jun 1828.

These children are unconfirmed:

Mary Glasgow born around 1823, Katherine and Agnes.

I have  a found a possible lead on the father John Glasgow. There is a John Glasgow with a wife named Jane Glasgow and a child Jane Glasgow on the 1841 Scottish census living in Leitholm. The date of birth is a fairly good match for John.  After a little goggling, I am fairly certain that John remarried to a Jane. There is a record of a John Glasgow married to a Jane McConnell in 1833.  Therefore it is mostly likely assumed that his first wife Agnes Fairbarin died before then. I have been able to follow his daughter Jane from his marriage to Jane McConnell, this appears to be their only child.

Jane Glasgow born 1834 in Leitholm and married an Alexander Aitchison .

I have also found those which I believe to be John’s parents, a Robert Glasgow and a Agnes Whitehead along with some siblings of his. I am hopefully this is the right path for him.

As Always, Thanks for reading






Everything you want to know and don’t want to know, Library and Archives Canada Military records

As talked about in my previous post, I stumbled across my two great uncles military records online with Libraries and Archives Canada.

Libraries and Archives Canada is digitizing Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) service files from World War  I. Here is the link to the page for more information CEF RECORDS.  This is an ongoing and they say it will be done by 2018, so  you may or may not have luck.

Basically they are digitizing a solder record which can consist of  many different files from their physical copies. If you happen to be like me and can’t get to there, being able to access the information online is very useful.

To access the records, you do a search, the search gives you lots of options but I do recommend putting in all that you know, especially if your ancestor has a common last name.

Once you have found who you are looking for you can then access their file online, but beware I found there is a lot of repeated information and some useless information as well.  The military keep a lot of information that at the time would have made sense but now seems kinda pointless.

Best of luck searching



Orphans with a Strong Bond, The Barnett Brothers and Sister.

I have recently found some more information related to my Barnett family Line. This information is relating to Louis and Barney Barnett. Both Louis and Barney served in World War I. No one in the family really know much about their military experience besides some belief that Barney may have been mustard gassed. I recently found their military files on Library and Archives Canada. They are huge files and still haven’t completely looked though them.

I did found from my quick look that Barney and Louis both served in France. I know that Barney I believe contracted Tb, it may have even been before the war and after six months was sent back to Canada ill with TB.  Now Barney record also gave the causes of death for his parents. This information was previously unknown and dates of death were not listed and but the causes are long way to getting there.

Now for Louis, not much new was found, somethings that I am choosing not to share but generally the main thing was that he served in France as well.

Both of the brothers in case of death had left everything to their sister. I was surprised that they hadn’t left it to each other but I think this shows the strong bond that they had with their sister. They had previously bought her to Canada after their father had died as she was at that time either in an orphanage or workhouse.

As always, thanks for reading


Finding ancestors though death….

It seems strange to start at the end of someone’s life but I have found that starting at the end can give many clues. I have been able to find spouse information or parent information and much more from death records.   One of my goals for 2015 is to try to find as many death records for my family tree as I can.

Death records in some cases tell a lot about a person.  One such ancestor’s father name was no were to be found. I knew the mother name but all I had for the father was a last name. Upon founding the record  I was able to get a place of birth and name for the father it still unfortunately didn’t let me anywhere new but at least gave some more useful information.

I have also found that finding one ancestor in a cemetery can lead to finding others.  I have found one ancestor grave and then after checking for others with that last names I have often found other found other  family members. This was quite a discovery with some of McLachlans ancestors as I was able to find multiple ancestors in the same cemetery as well as multiple ancestors buried in the same grave. I have found it is very common for single sons or daughters to be buried with parents or children who died young.

I have found that records of death also give clues to the living as well. I have found that looking at British probate records and who is receiving the will, It can give clues to living family members. Such as if the will is going to children then most likely the spouse is already passed away. The British probate records also listed the last address of the dead as well as the jobs of the will receivers this information can be very helpful in tracing family members that were still living at the time.

In the United States there is the Social Security Index which gives date of birth, death date, state and year that they social security name was issued. This can be helpful for finding people if the social security number was issued in a different state then the death.  This is not a source to rely on alone as it doesn’t always give enough information to be sure you have the right person.

Canada’s death records are not so easy. Due to the fact the Canada is still a fairly young country and privacy laws, records are not always easy to find.  If you have ancestors not from Ontario, the records tend to much harder to find. On Ancestry and the web, there are indexes for cemeteries.

Manitoba-Death information can be found from Vital Stats Manitoba from death more than 70 years ago.  There is an index, it available from Manitoba Vital Stats directly or can found on Ancestry. You do have to order the records from Manitoba Vital Stats for a fee. I have done this myself and the turnover time was pretty fast. It will though depend on were you are located.  I don’t believe that you can get the records in person.

One is CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project-a website that has indexes and pictures for cemeteries across Canada. All the work of indexes etc is done by volunteers. You can search a cemetery or name.

Another is Canadian Headstones-a website that indexes and pictures for cemeteries across Canada. It does a search by name only not by cemetery.

British Columbia-I don’t know a lot about British Columbia death records. I know that on Ancestry there is a couple of Indexes for Deaths in British Columbia. I don’t have a lot of connection to this province so I my knowledge is limited.

Alberta -I know that I have found some death information via Ancestry from grave indexes. Again not much connection to province so limited knowledge on death information.

Saskatchewan-Similar to Manitoba, death information can be obtained from Vital Stats Saskatchewan. It doesn’t give a lot of information online, so would suggest tried to confirm the death info though our sources before ordering a copy.

Ontario-As Ontario is a much older province and had a larger population, death information is I have found is easier to find here.  On Ancestry, there is a records for deaths in Ontario from 1869-1938. These records usually given the reason or cause of death, vital information and may give other information as well depending.  There are also other indexes on Ancestry for Canadian graves that are often mostly Ontario. As well as the two websites above, cover a lot of Ontario cemeteries.

Other places in Canada not mention are because no connections there.

As always, thanks for reading


Sweeping out the dust and crumbs on the Family Tree, my organization and cleaning methods

Every some often I like to go though my family tree and clean.  Basically this involves going though my tree and checking information for citations or checking that it’s correct. I usually do my cleaning etc when I going though a period of finding no leads.

I find doing this often lead to more information.  I will find censuses I have missed a family member on or information that has no citing attached to it. I like to make sure my information has citing attached to it as I have often found without, you can end up going down the wrong path.

Another thing I like do when cleaning is checking my information against what others have.  I have found this has help me find sources I have missed.  I do find that you have to watch when using information from others as it cannot always be correct. I am often surprised at the number of people who don’t seem to take care with their family trees. I do think that there are those who treat it as a passing hobby and those with a passion for it.  Those with a passion I find tend to be more detailed oriented and information is more reliable.

I tend work along these lines, If the information is sourced and names, dates etc match up then I used it. For unsourced information, I will usually try to find a source myself and if I can’t then I don’t use the information.

I also like to make sure that my information is all is the same format. I am constantly working on this as it is very not keep things consistent when you get caught up in finding information.

For example:

James Jones  Birthdate 18 Feb 2005                 not                 Feb 18 2005

Death  29 Feb 2010

Spouse last name are another area I look at when cleaning the family tree. I often will end up with knowing a spouse first name but not last name. Every once in a while I look at those in my family tree with no surnames and try to find the surnames. My rule of thumb generally with spouses is I take all information from the marriage and date of birth info but I don’t trace spouse’s families or keep that information in my family tree. This is for spouses of those not in the direct descent line. This is of course exceptions but that is only for those double related. I will talk about those in another post.

As always thanks for reading.


Upstairs, Downstairs, the Scots who lived downstairs

I have not watched an episode of  Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs but my curiosity has been pecked as I have researched my family tree. I have found quite a few Scottish relatives that worked as servants in manor house.

One such example is the Playfair family (related to the McDougall family).

I have a Elisabeth Playfair who worked at the Whitchester House in Longformacus, Berwickshire as a table maid in 1901 and was still working for the same family in 1911 but at a different house. In 1911 she is working at Manor Sparkford in Somerset, England as a parlour maid. The family that she worked for was Andrew and Ida Smith.

Some of her siblings also worked for the same family, her brother James and sister Jane are found on the 1901 census. James is a gardener and Jane is a housekeeper. Her sister Janet is also worked as a laundry maid.

They don’t appear to be working for the family in 1911 like Elisabeth.

One of the more interesting one I have found is a Barbara McDougall worked in a castle. Barbara is found on a 1861 census working at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire as a housekeeper. I don’t know the name of the family who she was working for.

Another ancestor was working as a footman but i don`t recall his name and he buried somewhere in my family tree so when I come across him again I shall added him information to this post.

As always, thanks for reading



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers