How Do We #GenChat

I use my computer and cellphone.

I use my personal computer to participate but keep my cell open on my Twitter page to locate stragglers or tweets from those forgetting the genchat hashtag or just struggling to follow; as well as DMs ;)

There are a number venues that aid in making the Twitter chatroom experience enjoyable: tchatio, tweetchat, hootsuite, nurph and possibly one or two more I’m forgetting.

As #GenChat is THIS Friday, I will explain TweetChat in this segment today and post the other venues (written by ThePirateQueen and other popular patrons of Treeverne) leading up to #GenChat Friday.

To participate you need a Twitter name. It starts with “@”
It costs nothing to register, you just need to be certain that no one else is using the name that you want.

Once you have your name, you need to find a chat programme that you like. Experiment with them all, and discover which one meets your needs.

tweetchatTweetChat is my favourite. It is an online service that is very simple to use.

To start, type “#genchat” in the text box.

TC_genchatNext comes the authourization screen …

authourizeThen the genchat room opens and you have the option to login or just follow along.


If you login, TweetChat can add the hashtag #genchat automatically to your tweets.

Participants’ tweets

A large text window occupies the upper half. A counter winds down from 140.


Under the text window are three buttons: remember “Room Settings” (It is your friend!)

roomsettingsIn Room Settings, you can simplify following along in #genchat

(This is what I do):


Highlight (although the button is green) makes orange bars before and after each person you choose. I use this to find @ancestryjourney and @_genchat and whomever else is leading the discussion. 


This is also VERY HELPFUL when trying to locate Questions! (The only time it is not, is when patrons respond to Qs with Qs, forgetting to change their reply to an A (Answer) :P [Oh, I know there can’t be any such people at Treeverne!].

Haven’t had to use”block user.” NEXT!

Hide retweets. IF the conversation is very heavy, have come close, but not yet.

Disable Buffer. Self explanatory, no?

But, there is one segment not shown: conversation recognition. If a fellow participant addresses you, the border highlights appear in blue.


Now, replies, retweets, and favourites are also possible with a simple click in the bottom right of each tweet.


And all this fun is 90minus: 30mins in #Treeveene for #TalkbacK which leads into an hour of #genchat

It’s fast. It’s fun. Do you think you can keep up?

Then Along Came Rosemary …

Upon Friday last (Friday March 13th), #genchat was eager to discuss using a blog for genealogy, or as the term is: genea-blogging.

Two very popular reasons to do this genea-blogging was (1) capture memories and stories of earlier ancestors; and, (2) attract other relatives, or what is called “cousin bait.”

I must admit, I have been very fortunate, coming from a prolific family of rabbits. There’s always two family historians or genealogists in each branch of the family tree!

A little more than a month ago, a new cousin found me through Ancestry. Cousin Rosemary explained her connection and asked what mine was.

I quickly sent a reply after referring to my notes. Afterwards, I reviewed them a little more and found that Rosemary’s cousin, Jane has been exchanging details with me since 2008!


The girls live in the United States, while I am still in Canada — out West, having moved from the East in 2001. 

In February 1905, Mary ATKINSON wed William FULKERSON in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada; but by December of that same year, they became parents in New York State with their first-born Ida Mae (Rosemary & Jane’s grandmother!).

Now, my mother still resides in Hamilton and I visited her just this last December (2014). 

While there I photographed some ancestors’ gravestones as they have resided in the Hamilton-Toronto area since the mid 1830s.

Hodgson-Atkinson GRANITE

Generation One St Philip’s Cemetery (Bolton, Ontario)

They came from England in 1833 with 2 sons, a pregnant daughter with her spouse and their six little ones. Three of the little ones died during the voyage, and as shown above, son Robert died shortly after arriving in York, Upper Canada (now known as Toronto, Ontario).


Generation Two (reverse of Generation One stone) St Philip’s Cemetery (Bolton, Ontario)

tom and sarah

Thomas ATKINSON & Sarah Ann CAWARD


Generation Three: Hamilton Cemetery (Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario)

Must go, will keep you posted with what we find, until then …


But, Mister Seaver, Romance Did Find Rabbit

There’s more than one incurable romantic about this genealogy Twitter-verse, you know.

This gentlemanly Rabbit was quite the Olde World charmer in his day, Dearies — but don’t take my word for it, just ask MiLady.

So as per the FEB 28th dare of Randy’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

superheroesI was minding my own business at home, a single-again Dad recently retired from the Army, with three little men (9, 6 and 4) — that’s right, four bachelors crazy for Lego, Bionicle, Transformers and wooden Thomas the Tank Engine train sets!

But when the lads were asleep, I unwound for a bit most nights by re-writing my genealogy notes into WordPerfect; but I also wrote a bit of poetry to clear my head on those late nights when I couldn’t sleep.

It wasn’t that long ago, December 2000, when I got an e-mail from a woman who gushed on and on about my poetry website that she just found!

She laughed, she cried. Then she laughed so hard, she cried some more! She complimented me on my gifts to tell life stories in simple, common English but present it in rhyming two-line “couplets” like Shakespeare’s writings.
Then she asked how difficult it was to write like that and how long I had been doing so.

“I’m gonna make her day,” I thought. (Yes, I wrote in verse, just a couple of lines.).

After sending off my reply, I resumed my genealogy work.

Now, I swear it was only ten minutes, when the next e-mail chirped its arrival.

Her again, I soon discovered. Opening her reply I was overwhelmed, it was two pages long!

(How did she do that in ten minutes?!?)
“Oh, well,” I shrugged, “no matter.”

So, I answered her e-mail /
The same as the first;
With a wee bit of humour /
And, yes, all in verse!

Needless to say, I did a lot of typing but not very much of it genealogy.

I learned early on that MiLady lived near the Rocky Mountains, while I was near the Great Lakes area, which created a two-hour time difference.

She worked in a psychiatric hospital, which was a blessing in handling my odd sense of humour.

By Valentine’s Day, we decided to try a phone call or two. So, late that night, we connected and talked for over six hours!

The time just sped by! It seemed like we barely got acquainted when I saw the red LED clock glowing 5:00am!

It was like an addiction — a very nasty habit: we talked every other night.

And it was so nice to have these conversations with another adult that did not involve robots, magical cartoon ponies, fruit-flavoured dollies or a purple dinosaur!

But, MiLady’s melodic voice would soon be silenced within a fortnight, when my phone company billed me over $500 for our fourteen calls!

It took some investigating, but MiLady eventually found ICQ a social programme predecessor of MSN. We tried it, but it wasn’t the same.  Allow me to explain:

MiLady would send “routine” messages that filled my entire orange (monochrome) screen! She would then go to the kitchen, make some coffee, enjoy it with a cigarette then go back to her computer and wait another five minutes for my two sentence reply!

I, on the other hand, after sending my message would no sooner stand up from my chair, when the screen of my 486 would fill again! (Methinks this is when I should mention that I was using dial up!).

Then MiLady found out that MSN could handle voice; and our all-night conversations began again minus the $500 phone bills.

By May, we agreed that a meeting was needed. Sending money for her flight, MiLady came to Ontario for two weeks!

It was the end of June, her arrival date! It was almost 40C in the shade, when she stepped off the plane and walked into the terminal.

Junior was the first to catch her eye. Smiling, he offered her a cold tin of soda — even then, he was almost as tall as she was!

Next came Captain, tugging at her luggage with the intent to strap them on the fold-up, wheeled carrier and port them around for her!

Then, my three-foot-tall Chef shuffled out, hiding behind the stem of a swaying, red rose that he held over his head.

With my young army men surrounding her, I stepped forward and then …

Our eyes met and we knew.

Baa Baa Black Sheep: Benedict Arnold

This is a re-blog of an old post from 2009.  I tried to update/revise it and it went all funny, so … I’m piecing it back together.


Yes, I know, this is a strange one, but it’s a good one, and who doesn’t find a bad boy (or a bad girl) interesting?

In genealogy, it is no different – rum-runners during Prohibition, crime bosses, murderers and traitors like Al Capone, Lizzie Borden and Benedict Arnold (pictured right), respectively.

The gossip and hype that revolved around your Black sheep during their infamy – and still does, for some of them – will keep you busy looking for the facts for a while.

Good luck tracing your blacksheep!

More later!

Benedict Arnold: Black Sheep -= or =- Loyalist?


#Benedict Arnold is a #Loyalist? o.0? Are you sure?

Originally posted on Your Roots Are Showing!:

Long time followers remember when I first wrote about General Benedict ARNOLD.  I described him as my Black Sheep ancestor and mentioned the re-location of his family to New Brunswick, after his disserting the American Continental Army (under command of General George Washington) to side with the Royal Army belonging to King George III.

Arnold’s military career and actions during the American Revolution are documented, misquoted, and in some cases questionable on both sides of the 49th Parallel – but as to what actions are questionable depends upon which side of the border you reside.

Let’s consider three things:

[1] Is he a traitor?

[2] Is he a “black sheep”?

[3] Is he a Loyalist?

This first question can be answered with reasoning that can be applied for a liberated answer that my Americans friends and fellow Canadians cannot dispute.

General Arnold was a member of the Continental Army…

View original 648 more words

Tough Woman #52Ancestors2015 (3)


My subject for this segment of #52Ancestors2015 began with an in-depth (and heated) discussion with Nostalgia for all of last week and the better part of this one!

“You cannot write about her either, Dearie” the Old Banshee scolded again.

“But she’s a tough woman and a relative,” I retorted.

“But, she is NOT your ancestor, so, she is not eligible.”

“And where is that written in the rules?” I called back frustrated.

“Lady Bird indicated 52 Ancestors,” Gia reiterated. “And you well know, Rabbit, an ancestor is commonly known to be a relative who was here before …”

“Fine, fine,” I caved, tossing my hands over my head. “I’ll write about you instead, if it will shut you up!”

Gia’s face lit up as she gushed a little surprise at the compliment and a tad of uncertainty at the jibe.

“That is nice, Dearie, I think, but you don’t know very much about me.”

Hiding behind my monitor, I smiled wickedly. “Oh, I know plenty about you, my Dear Old Fossil.”

I cleared my throat before continuing.

“You are like an unwanted older sister,” I started. “Mama Rabbit told me many times that you were a foundling, wailing from your laundry basket upon the doorstep.”

“Laundry? Basket? Rabbit, come now, you jest!”

“The basket was filled with strange white flowers,” I continued undaunted. “It was like you were buried in them.”

The Old Banshee’s worried expression softened as she heard familiar information.

“Go on,” she gestured regally.

“But, Mum didn’t notice your little braided handband until after she picked you up.”

Nostalgia was enraptured. “Yes, I remember Mama telling me that…”

“And you were still wailing at the top of your little lungs — I am a VooDoo child and I don’t take No for an answer!”

Nostalgia sunk into a nearby chair, wide-eyed and ashen.

“Dressed in your little Woodstock onesie,” I grinned wide, “that was really a t-shirt held together by those plastic, safety-headed diaper pins!”

Finished, I looked over my monitor. My nemesis was grey like granite and immovable.

“Gia?” I queried, keeping my safe distance.


“Gia?” I ventured out from my safety zone, and crept closer. “Gia, are you …”

Mid-sentence I was, when her head snapped in my direction. Her eyes were a piercing red like those little LEDs you find on cheap keyrings, and down the sides of her face, the evidence of tears.

“… leaking?” I asked.

“You wicked, wicked man!” she bawled, scrambling out of the chair and room, only to rush upstairs to her Inner Sanctum, finalizing her retreat by slamming the door.

A few minutes later, MiLady then joined me, having had a nice relaxing bath.

“Who is slamming doors?” she asked sweetly, as she leaned over and kissed me after taking a seat upon the sofa beside me.


“What did you say to her now?!?” The sweet tone was no more.

I then explained I had at last gotten even to all of her badgering insults.

“It’s been going on for nearly two weeks, Dearst,” I finally pleaded.

“You need to go up there and apologize to her,” was the home-court decision.

“But, SHE started it!” I whined.

“And, YOU’RE finishing it!” MiLady said, pointing upstairs.

KING ME! #52Ancestors2015 (2)

You must have heard that time and again playing checkers with family and friends; probably said it a few times yourself.

Well, the twist for this #52Ancestors2015 post is a game of kings.  No, not checkers or chess, but how well (and how many) kings do you know.

Everyone is probably familiar with Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI from the Academy award-winning film, “THE KING’S SPEECH.”

But when and where were the most kings at any one given time? 

I have found nine (9):


All of these gentlemen, young and old, were reigning kings of their respective countries at the time this photograph was taken.

With a little detective work, I discovered that one king was missing! Do you have any idea who?

Before I tell you, we should date this photograph.

If you guessed sometime during World War I (between 1914 and 1919), you are too late!  

It was the funeral of King Edward VII UK on May 20th, 1910, and all of these men came to grieve. Yes, they were all related!

So, let’s start solving this (listing from LEFT to RIGHT):

  • King Haakon VII of Norway: Coronation in 1906 and died in 1957 (late king’s son-in-law)
  • Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria: Coronation in 1887 and abdicated in 1918 (late king’s second cousin)
  • King Alfonso XIII of Spain: Coronation in 1902* and died in 1931 (late king’s nephew-in-law)
  • King Manuel II of Portugal: Coronation in 1908 and reign was dissolved in 1910 (late king’s second cousin)
  • King George V of UK: Coronation in 1910 and died in 1936 (late king’s son)
  • Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany: Coronation in 1888 and reign was abolished in 1918 (late king’s nephew)
  • King George I of Greece: Coronation in 1863 and died in 1913 (late king’s brother-in-law)
  • King Frederik VIII of Denmark: Coronation in 1906 and died in 1912 (late king’s brother-in-law)
  • King Albert I of Belgium: Coronation in 1909 and died in 1934 (late king’s second cousin)

NOTE *Alfonso XIII was born a king (May 1886), as his father had died six months earlier at the young age of 28 years. Alfonso would not be coronated until 1902 when he reached legal age.

Gustaf V of Sweden: Coronation in 1907, died 1950

              THE MISSING KING!                 Gustaf V of Sweden:      Coronation in 1907, died 1950

Now, the new puzzle is: why was this king missing from the occasion?


If You’re a HOLCOMB, We Are Related, Dearie!

I’ve been blogging genealogy and gravestones for so long, I was beginning to wonder if I was the only nut researching my family tree.

Last Saturday, you can imagine my surprise after finding a blog post about a Phineas HOLCOMB from Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut.

“Lots of HOLCOMBs are from there, Rabbit” Nostalgia hissed. “What are the odds, now, really?

Undaunted, I went digging through my research notes anyway, after work Saturday …

And well into my Day-Off Sunday (today 18JAN2015) …




Jacky’s related! (Well, to my eldest son Junior that is!)



Ensign Joshua HOLCOMB II is Jacky’s 7th great grandfather, while he is Junior’s 9th great grandfather.

“This would make Jacky and Junior 8th cousins two times removed,” Nostalgia announced while tapping away on a calculator.

“Gia,” I asked very confused, my head still spinning. “How? They only share one great grandparent, and that’s Joshua II.”

Nostalgia stared me down over her glass rims before resuming her tapping. “I’m not done yet!”

“Wouldn’t that make them half cousins?” I asked innocently. “So, half of eight is four …”

I smiled wickedly knowing The Old Banshee’s weakness to too many numbers being thrown at her.

“And half of two is one,” I continued foolishly. “So they would be fourth cousins once removed!”

The Old Banshee grumbled and tapped the calculator harder.

“Or, they could be cousins half removed!” I proudly announced as I grabbed Nostalgia by the shoulders, shaking her before kissing her. “That’s it! They’re half removed!”

Then I realized what happened and rushed to the bathroom!

By Request: What are “The Advil Notes?” #genchat

Friday last (16JA2015) was #genchat and questions flew about faster than most participants could type.

One discussion was Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over as one way to re-organize one’s research.

Another question (forgive me I forget who asked it, The Pirate Queen, I believe) dealt with being more organized when dealing with genealogical research: documents, photographs, digital media, desk, etc

That got me thinking: I am way ahead of the game for the Genealogy Do Over; I started back in 1982! Or was it 1986?

May 1982 was when my maternal grandfather passed away, but it was that summer when I went to visit the great aunt I never knew I had and her family.

While with them I inherited a copy of family history notes.  “The ATKINSON Genealogy,” or the TAG book (1966) as it is affectionately referred to by many now, contained drop charts and some narratives written in Elite — a font style available to a typewriter as opposed to Pica. Does anyone remember TYPING courses in high school, not KEYBOARDING? (Keyboarding was used to describe Piano lessons in my high school.).

These notes were very informative. Some detail into the communities were included, as well as prominent businesses run by family members for two and three generations.  The original notes were compiled in 1927.

By 1966-67, descendants decided to mass produce the TAG Book to share with everyone, for as cheaply as possible.

gestetnerA Gestetner mimeograph machine (example at left) was borrowed and the copying began, but there was only one downfall:

These originals were published “AS IS.” Massive errors and omissions of entire families were mass produced, knowingly — and without citations.

Yes, there were no citations. 

I found quotes from historical texts that were no longer in print.

There were references to special collections from the OHS (Ontario Historical Society), visits to cemeteries and interviews with aged family members. (It would be the early 1990s before I was able to identify most of these references.

Unfortunately, there are still a few I have not been able to decypher.).  Hence the name: The Advil Notes.

Approaching the task to re-vamp and sort out the mess into a format I could comprehend and remember (for the most part) involved dissecting the book.

Yes, you heard me. I took it apart.

Now, it wasn’t really a book. It was a wine-coloured duo-tang with about an inch of single-sided paper in it. (If you were to look at it now, it has expanded into 23 one-inch binders, six plastic banker’s boxes, 1TB external drive [50% full], an assortment of ZIP disks, floppy disks, 3.5 disks, bits on Ancestry, more bits on FindMyPast, PDFs in The Cloud and Dropbox, and too many thumb drives filled with census records, gravestone photos and what nots.)

When I began to format my notes, I did not have access to a computer. I used a typewriter.  I was permitted to use the electric typewriters during lunch at my high school. And to keep track of my references, I had a notebook divided up into sections, one for each of the 14 sub-groups of the third generation of the family.

NOTE: There were also two other ATKINSON families in the TAG Book that were thought to be related, but no information was available to substantiate the claim. I was not able to find anything over the years either and strongly believe that DNA testing would put the final word on it. The only setback is finding willing ATKINSON males from the two uncertain families to take the test with my cousins.

The original drop-chart format was a series of columns running down the left side of the page. Each column represented a generation. The name immediately beside the columns was born into the family.  The name opposite was, of course, the spouse.

Children would then be listed under the parents in birth order, with the appropriate generation column ticked.

The format looked fine until the family member “parent” remarried.  Then the second, and subsequent, spouses would be listed, after the previous marriage children, to the right hand side of the page with no one listed at the left.  A very messy situation with my relatives marrying three and four times!

ROOTS III — yeah, how many of you remember THAT one?

7-20-2010 5-14-21 PMMy set-up influence came from a genealogy software brochure promoting ROOTS III.  The brochure examples had each generation tabulated across the page, with the corresponding generation number in square brackets before the individual’s name. Following the person’s name would be an alpha-numeric value also in brackets; this was the person’s identification number.

It took about five years or so to type up everything that I had — so all of junior high and high school.  It was very difficult, as you can imagine, coming from a large family of prolific rabbits!

When I was finally able to use a computer, don’t laugh. It was a 486. WordPerfect was a God send! At any time, I was able to input data for all the new-found family members faster than taking an “instant picture” with a Polaroid! 

7-20-2010 5-16-39 PMI decided that listing all spouses under the family member would be easier to understand. Separating the children to each marriage would involve “a, b, or c” following the identity number.

References and proofs would then accumulate at the right hand side of the page with full listings at the trail end of the document.

Now, how the citations are listed has changed a few times. I need to keep it simple and if I find a way that is such, I use it.

Some citations (for example actual newspaper obituaries, notices, etc) are one format. Census records, BMD certificates and military service records are another format — particularly if acquired from the big online genealogy websites.

There are still many NOT holes — it’s NOT him or it’s NOT her — in my research, but the earliest generations are well documented and fellow family genealogists are slowly finding me to compare notes.

One such cousin lives in Calgary, Alberta. She piggy-backs off my notes to aid her in finding gravestones of our relatives that need to be photographed. She has located at least one hundred of them from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario!

Back in Ontario, many of my cousins I re-connected with last month are scanning old photographs of our grandparents, our parents, etc to share and identify.  I am hoping one day to see wedding photos of our parents and our baby pictures — THAT should be fun!

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad starting honeymoon APRIL1962






A Visit to FHL in SLC is a MUST! #FGS2015

The December subjects for FGS2015 Ambassadors involved previous visits or the plans for a potential visit. (Of course, I chose the latter having never been out that way.).

If (perhaps that should be re-worded to when) I am to attend, a visit to the Family History Library would be a given.  This is based upon my hypothesis that the Library would possess the answers to questions that have lingered and nagged our family for almost 90 years. (If they do not hold the answers, then I have no idea who else would.)

The name of the sailing vessel that brought my earliest ATKINSON ancestors is still not known and it has been an 88 year-old brickwall.

If — Heaven forbid — the answer(s) are not there, I would guess the next route would be DNA testing, but I cannot submit to it as I was not born an ATKINSON — Mama Rabbit was! (I’m not too worried, I have plenty of male cousins I can annoy),

What little I do know:

  • they arrived in New York City, 1833
  • they bypassed the U.S. Customs House with a letter from James Buchanan, British Counsel
  • they continued to York, Upper Canada (later Toronto, Ontario)
  • six (6) weeks after arrival, son Robert died (1811-1833)

When arrangements to visit can be made, I will need an experienced guide — not Nostalgia! I would like to use my money for copying fees rather than bail.



South California Genealogical Society

Are You Ready?

#genchat 27MAR -- DNA: Is It "Truth Serum?"


January themes


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