Discover your inside story. Save 20% on Ancestry DNA April 21-26

May 25, 2018

Revist Life in New York City 1911

This restored black and white film is a joy to watch. It's been carefully repaired, and acts like a personal Time Machine. New York City 1911. How many of us have not wished we could be transported back to an earlier time to watch our ancestors?

I went to New York (my first time on an airplane!) after my dad's death. I was 14 years old and it was incredibly exciting to see the big city, formerly called New Amsterdam, where so many of my Dutch ancestors settled in the 17th Century.

Little did I know as I rode in the elevator up the Empire State Building, that my 9th great-grandfather Lambert Van Valkenburg once owned the land where that building now sits.

May 23, 2018

Update of Pennsylvania Baggage Lists Online

Early arrival to Philadelphia Pennsylvania were documented in Baggage Lists from 1800 to 1819. These are called The Pennsylvania Baggage Lists.

The names of passengers are taken from FHL film 419589. These are Pennsylvania Baggage Lists from 2 Jan 1809 to 29 Dec. 1809. These lists contain the names of passengers who had to pay taxes on excess baggage. It does not contain the names of passengers who were exempt because their luggage was not over the limit.

I decided to index all names, not just passenger names, but also the names of those shipping luggage or goods, and the names of those being shipped to. Passengers whose names are found also have a list of luggage, so interested descendants should obtain the original film to view the full manifest details.

Olive Tree Genealogy has indexed all names from the microfilm, not just passenger names, but also the names of those shipping luggage or goods, and the names of those being shipped to. Passengers whose names are found also have a list of luggage, so interested descendants should obtain the original film to view the full manifest details or check the online database Philadelphia, Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1800-1850

 | Brig Lamprey from Kingston Jamaica
 | Schooner Wanton from Jamaica
 | Schooner Swift from Puerto Rico
 | Ship Cordelia from Martinique
 | Ship Union from Plymouth & Lorient
 | Schooner Archibald from Puerto Rico
 | Swedish Ship Abo from St. Bartholomews & Turks Island
 | Brig Jean from Liverpool
 | Ship Mary from London
 | Swedish Schooner Maria from St. Thomas
 | Ship Live Oak from Liverpool
 | Brig Lovely Lass from Batavia
 | Ship Ann & Hannah from Turks Island
 | Brig Gustaf Ekerman from St. Bartholomew
 | Ship Edward & Charles from London
 | Schooner George & Susan from Nassau
 | Ship Recovery from Liverpool
 | Ship Diana from Liverpool
 | Brig Reindeer from Havana
 | Brig Palafos from Havana
 | Schooner Ranger from Puerto Rico
 | Schooner Five Sisters from Puerto Rico
 | Schooner Blaneke from St. Bartholomew
 | Brig Ann from Liverpool 

May 22, 2018

Calling all Boelen Descendants!

Yep - Volume 12 published in my New Netherland Settlers series! This book  offers new details beyond my original article The European Origins of the Boelen Family: Boele Roeloffson and His Wife Bayken Arents in Amsterdam, published in the April 2000 issue of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. It also revises and expands on the 2010 book I published on Boele and Bayken. 

New Netherland Settlers: The Boelen Family: Ancestry of the Boelen Family & their Connection to the Ten Eyck, Clock, Coert, Roos, and Hellaken Families (Volume 12) Paperback May 7, 2018 by Lorine McGinnis Schulze (Author) 

Available on and

Boele Roeloffsen, the immigrant ancestor of the Boelen family, arrived in New Netherland in 1659. His wife Bayken Arents, their three children, and Bayken’s sister Tryntie Arents sailed with him on board the ship Otter. Two more children were born to Boele and Bayken after they settled in New Amsterdam. 

One of the Boelen records I found dated 1610 - translated and in the book
New Amsterdam was a young town in 1659 but it was growing rapidly. New Amsterdam’s gabled homes, the Dutch language being spoken, and Dutch laws in place would have offered comfort to the newly arrived settlers. 

May 21, 2018

Why a Genealogy Lookup Request Might Not Pan Out

At some point every genealogist will no doubt request a lookup in a database for an ancestor. The database might be in an Archive, a Library, a Museum or it might be in another genealogist's privately held collection of records.

Sometimes a fee is charged for lookup services. Occasionally it is free.

Sometimes your ancestor is found. Often he or she is not. Sometimes what is found is not what you were hoping for.

There Are Different Reactions to a Not-Found Response

As someone who offers a lookup service in that challenging period known as pre-1865 immigration records to Canada, I have experienced different reactions from those customers informed the search was not successful and their ancestor was not found. I have also had negative reactions when their ancestor is found in the record but it is not what they were expecting. I have had a few send angry emails complaining about the fee charged ($16.00 for a lookup in 5 books) I have had a few complain that they wanted more details. Obviously these researchers did not read the description of the databases. It struck me that this is something we genealogists need to talk about.

First and foremost, any institution or person offering lookup services for a fee has spent their time doing the lookup. It is not their fault if your ancestor wasn't there and yes, the fee is still due to them for their time spent. I'm pretty confident that no one expects their doctor to not charge for his/her time even if you aren't cured or their findings are that nothing is medically wrong with you. Has anyone ever had a plumber waive his/her fee if the leak can't be fixed, or found? Should your child's teacher give up part of their salary if your child hasn't learned how to work with fractions?

Why Wasn't My Ancestor Found?

So let's think about why your ancestor may not have shown up in that database.

The simplest and likely most correct answer is that he or she wasn't recorded or wasn't in that spot when you think he/she was, or the database has some missing portions. But the bottom line is that you can't expect your ancestor to be in every single database just because you think (hope) he/she should be.

However there could be other reasons your ancestor wasn't found:

1. You didn't provide enough information to assist the individual doing the lookup. At a minimum you should provide a full name, dates (birth, death, etc) and a location.

2. You misunderstood what the parameters of the database. For example if the record set states it is a database of impoverished immigrants from Ireland between 1834 and 1836, but you are looking for an ancestor who immigrated from Scotland circa 1840, you are looking in the wrong database.

3. You didn't provide alternate or unusual spellings of your ancestor's name. For example my husband's great-grandfather was known as Archie. But his actual name was Achillus. You cannot expect whoever is doing the lookup to know that Archie might be a nickname for Achillus. They will be looking for Archie or the more common root name of Archibald!

4. You didn't read the description of what was in the database. For example I offer a lookup service in a book which I clearly state is an index only containing first and last name and year of immigration as well as details on where the full record can be found, you really should not complain that you expected the full date of immigration, the birthplace of your ancestor and the name of the ship he/she sailed on. (Yes that has happened)

5. Perhaps the database is only a partial database, something rescued when the bulk of the records were lost or destroyed. Perhaps the database has been reconstructed from other sources. An example of this is my Olive Tree Genealogy project to reconstruct missing ships' passenger lists from Holland to New Netherland (New York) 1624-1664. Alternate sources such as court records, notarial records, etc, are being used to find names of individuals leaving Holland for New Netherland on specific ships. But genealogists cannot expect that the names of every single passenger on those ships will be found.

Can I Learn Anything From a Not-Found Response?

Yes! You can note that the specific set of records was searched with no sign of your ancestor. In other words, cross that off your To-Do list!

You can then re-evaluate your thought processes - should you look for more alternate sources for what you are hoping to find, or should you set that aside and make a note that you might not be successful in finding the specific fact you want. Perhaps it simply does not exist. Sometimes it's good to take a break from a challenging ancestor search and move on to something different. Then go back to it at another time.

May 18, 2018

More Immigrant Ancestors 1812-1913

After writing about my immigrant ancestors in a 300 year span (27 of them!) on an earlier blog post "Who Were Your Immigrant Ancestors", I thought it only fair to write about my husband's.

His most recent immigrant ancestor was Elsie Markham from England to Canada in 1913

His earliest that we have found so far was Thomas Montgomery from Fermanagh Ireland to Quebec in 1812. Thomas and his family were heading to New York but their ship was captured by the British in the War of 1812. The passengers were taken as prisoners and sent to Newfoundland and then Quebec

Below are other known dates of arrival for more of my husband's immigrant ancestors in that 101 year timeline from earliest arrival to most recent:

  • William Massey from Ireland to Quebec in 1842
  • John Cooper from England to New Jersey 1842
  • James Hogan from Ireland to Canada in 1843 
  • George Jickling from England to Canada 1844
  • John Cowan(s) from Scotland or England in 1851
  • Frederick Purdue from England to Canada in 1856
  • William Jackson from Tipperary Ireland to Canada in 1857
  • Sam Sandercock from England to Canada in 1887
  • Achillus Camillus (Archie) De Meulenaere from Belgium to America then to Canada in 1900
Let's hear your stories! Who were your immigrant ancestors?

May 16, 2018

WW1 Canadian Military Records Being Digitized

Did you know...... It took 18 months to remove pins, clips and staples (260 kg of metal!), as well as adhesive, to get the 640,000 files of the Canadian Expeditionary Force ready for digitization.

All records should be digitized and online by the end of 2018. Kudos to Library and Archives Canada for making this wonderful database freely available!

Read more in the article "For the Duration" at

May 15, 2018

Are you a Sippe or Sipken Descendant?

I'm excited to announce my new book on the family is available!   

Jan Sipkens was a Dutch soldier who settled in New Netherland sometime before October 1674. His marriage intentions were recorded in the New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church that month, and they revealed his origins were in Amsterdam Holland.

A search of the Amsterdam church records found his baptism in 1656 to parents Sipke (aka Zipke) Auckus and Baefje Jans. The surname in North America eventually became Sippe as well as Sipkens.

A search of available Amsterdam records revealed baptisms of Jan Sipken’s siblings and the marriage of his parents. This book details the family in Amsterdam Holland, and New Amsterdam in New Netherland (present day New York).
One of the records I found and added to the Sipken book
New Netherland Settlers:: Jan Sipken, W.I.C. Soldier, and His Sipken and Sippe Ancestors & Descendants

8.5" x 11" (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
50 pages. Available on and

See all my New Netherland Settlers series of books.