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Orlo Louise Marie Jones was born 11 June 1929 to Frank and Marie (MacNeill) Jones. She grew up on the family farm in Pownal, Prince Edward Island, and had three brothers: Robert (stillborn) and twins Edgar and Harold. Orlo attended school in Pownal and then Prince of Wales College, Charlottetown, where she trained as a medical laboratory technologist. In 1954 Orlo travelled to New Jersey, United States of America, to work as a medical lab technologist. In 1960 she graduated from Douglas College, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey), with a Bachelor of Science degree. Orlo taught school, first in Linden, New Jersey, before returning to the Island in 1964 where she taught at Summerside High School until 1977.
After she left teaching, Orlo began work with the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation at the Beaconsfield Genealogy Room in Charlottetown. She was involved in a massive volunteer project to index Island genealogy sources which resulted in the Master Name Index card catalogue which is now housed at the Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island. Orlo was a charter member of the Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes and promoted the standardization of genealogical procedures. She became known throughout the Island, the Maritimes, and beyond for her vast knowledge of genealogy. Orlo wrote articles for the Island Magazine and the Guardian newspaper, including her popular column “Family History Mysteries”. Orlo also developed comprehensive genealogical research guides, some of which were published and distributed by the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation. Orlo also had a personal interest in genealogy and engaged in extensive research on her own family.
Being of Loyalist descent, Orlo was an active member of the Abegweit Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. She co-edited An Island Refuge: Loyalists and Disbanded Troops on the Island of Saint John with Doris Haslam (1983) and was named Honorary Vice-President of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada in 1988.
Orlo Jones died 28 February 2015 at the age of 85. She was buried in the Hazelbrook Baptist Church Cemetery.
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