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Tune in for the best information, innovation & inspiration to help you grow your family tree!

Sep 5, 2013

Come along as we solve a family history mystery with high-tech and low-tech tools, discuss who to begin African-American research, explore newly available Canadian records, and contemplate the value of work as well as the values we want to pass on to our kids and grandkids.



Canadian Genealogical Records Now Available
If you have Canadian kin, you’ll be pleased to hear that the 1825 census of Lower Canada is now searchable online. The 1825 census of Lower Canada counted nearly half a million people. Heads of household were actually named, with other members of the household counted by category. You can search by household name or geographic location.

The 1921 census counted 8.8 million people in thousands of communities across Canada. According to the Library and Archives Canada Blog, the population questionnaire had 35 questions. The census also collected data on “agriculture; animals, animal products, fruits not on farms; manufacturing and trading establishments; and [a] supplemental questionnaire for persons who were blind and deaf. This represents a total of 565 questions.” The census was released this past June 1 from the national Statistics office to the Library and Archives. That office is processing and scanning the nearly 200,000 images for public use. It hopes to have them posted soon.

You can start looking for your Canadian ancestors in the Library and Archives Canada’s popular Census Indexes at which include that 1825 census and a new version of the 1891 census, too.

If your family arrived in Canada after the 1921 census, check out the website for The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, where a million immigrants landed between 1928-1971.

The much-anticipated (but little-publicized) 1921 Canadian census is now online and available for browsing at  They anticipate releasing an index later this year.

When you click on the first link above, you’ll see that’s collection of Canadian census data goes back to 1851. Check out my post above to learn about online data back to 1825. It’s getting easier all the time to find your Canadian ancestors online!

Genealogy Roadshow on PBS: More Genealogy TV
Lovers of Who Do You Think You Are! and other genealogy TV favorites will be pleased to know that Genealogy Roadshow is filming for airing this fall on PBS. This has already been a popular series in Ireland, where Genealogy Roadshow is in its second season. The series premieres in the U.S. on KQED on Monday September 23.  Read more about it here



Death Certificate Confusion  Scott writes: “I wanted to send this death certificate to you and maybe you could talk about it on your podcast.  It's a reminder we can't take what we see at face value even from a primary source created at the time of the event.  On one line it says he died Jan 17, 1937 and another it says the attending doctor saw him alive on February 17 of the same year.  But then he was buried on Jan 20th.  It's really not all that clear whether the events took place in January or February from just this document.” 


Lisa’s Reply: What is really fascinating about this document is how the slight variation in handwriting gives away the problem. The doctor was very detailed with the variety of dates he entered as Feb. when events took place. His “3” generally stands up or even tips forward a bit. But the Registrar, Mr. Popeland, distinctly tilts his “3” and “7” back a bit. And his hand is also heavier. Very quickly you see that Dr. Brallier completed his portion of the form and then, I would guess later, Mr. Popeland completed the remainder of the form and filed it. The big question is who made the mistake: was Mr. Popeland correct that it was January, or was Dr. Brallier correct that is was February?

I searched Ancestry and MyHeritage because I was anxious to know the answer. After an initial search neither Dempsey nor his wife Ruby Lee appeared, which is rather curious. After trying all types of name variations, I finally went to our old friend, .

I search on his wife "Ruby Lee Danner" in quotation marks and up popped one result - a court case.

Searching “Dempsey Danner” in quotation marks resulted in 7 hits, 3 of which were him, including an obituary at the Arizona Obituary Archive.

Dr. Braillier has been vindicated. Perhaps Mr. Popeland had filed one too many certificates that day, or had his mind on something else as he entered January in the remaining blanks. And once again, the case is made that the person who was there at the time of the event in person got it right, and the one recording the event later did not.

Kate shares some old time photo resources:  “…Old Time DC on Facebook.  It's brilliant.  It's a collection of DC photos from the past.  It's not owned by anyone and anyone can post.  I love looking at old photos trying to figure out what the world was like before…It would be so wonderful if people in various cities starting compiling things like this Old TIme DC Facebook page.  Many families have shared interest in various places and streets but most people didn't think to take photos of those things.”

Lisa’s Tip: Try searching for names of towns and keywords like “photos” and “history” to see if there are similar groups on Facebook that can benefit your research. My example: I found a similar Facebook page for Margate Kent It's a terrific use of social media!


GEM:  Interview with Dr. Deborah Abbott

Genealogy Gems contributor Sunny Morton interviews Dr. Deborah Abbott, Ph.D., an adjunct faculty member at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and currently serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS).


Dr. Abbott specializes in African American genealogy, slavery, court records as well as methodology. Her genealogical research project about an African American Family from Kentucky entitled "From Slavery to Freedom to Antioch" was highlighted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio) Newspaper under the title "Six-Volumes to Amplify a Family History" in 2008.


In this Gem Dr. Abbott shares her strategies for Starting the Search for African American Roots:

  • Interview your family (both blood and non-blood!)
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Generate feelings
  • Get an entire social history if you can.
  • Try asking a question to frame the question. Like “who was the president when you were 12?”

Debbie's Favorite Resources: and Opened at the same time! Go back and forth between the two. Think of Ancestry as “the index” and FamilySearch as the “images.”  Example: Ohio Death Index 1908-2007


Slave Research:

  • Follow the Census
  • Research slave holder
  • Pay attention to who is in the house, and who lives around them.
  • Sometimes slave holders and former slaves share first names in addition to last names.

“Once we get into the slave era African-America are no longer people, they are property.”

You are looking for people as you would other property like land. You must look at the people making the transactions, all the way through their death.


Ohio had laws that governed the movements of African-Americans in the early years. Understand the history and the laws in the location and timeframe you are researching. In Ohio –African-Americans had to register.


Free Family History Festival
Sat. Sept. 28, 2013

Detroit Public Library – Main Branch

Debbie will be teaching on techniques for tracing African-American Roots

Lisa will be teaching on Ultimate Google Search Strategies and Tips and Get the Scoop on Your Ancestors with Newspapers.


Lisa’s Personal Thoughts on the Value of Work, Looking to Ancestors for Values, and Passing on our Family’s Values to our Kids and Grandkids.