August 31, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 35: Back to School

Sharing Memories Week 35: Back to School
Here is a Challenge for all genealogy bloggers. Keep a weekly journal called Sharing Memories. Some of you may recall that in 2010, 2011 and 2012 I provided weekly prompts to help with recording our memories of ancestors and our own childhood.

If you missed this weekly series called Sharing Memories you might want to have a look and see if any of the prompts are helpful to you.

This week's prompt is Back to School

What was it like for you the week or weekend before school started up again after summer holidays? Did you get lots of cool notebooks, pencils and pencil crayons? Did your mom buy you that backpack you wanted?

We didn't have anything special for back-to-school like they have now. All I ever got was new binders, 3 ring lined paper and a few pencils and pens. But I was happy. Remember those little adhesive white rings with the hole in the middle that you put to reinforce your 3 ringed notepaper? I loved those silly things!

I was wishing I had some of them today when a Recipe binder I use lost its first page because the holes ripped from use.

August 30, 2014

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album p. 10

This Photo Archive consists of a small autograph album (6.5" by 5.25") kept by Constance (Connie) Philips as a memento of her time serving as a nurse during World War One.  

The majority of the photos and items are from 1915, when she served as a nurse in France and Britain. 

The album and all photographs, postcards, and other ephemera contained in the album belong to Karin Armstrong and may not be copied or republished without her written permission. The images will be published on Olive Tree Genealogy with permission. 

Each image has been designated an "R" for Recto or a "V" for Verso plus an album page number. Recto is the right-hand side page of a bound book while Verso is the left-hand side page. 

I will be posting the entire album and my additional research on the individuals identified in Connie's album over the coming months so please check back frequently to view these historic photos. The easiest way to see what has been published is to click on the topic "Nursing Sister WW1 Photos" in the vertical menu bar on the right side of your screen. You can also click on that phrase at the bottom of this post.

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album p. 10
10R Ward Inspection

10V Group outside a hut

August 29, 2014

Death of a Stranger Solves a Family Mystery 103 Years Later

The stranger checked his pocket watch. Almost 9:15 pm. The train from Milwaukee should pull in to the Missoula train station any minute now. He began to gather his belongings - two large suitcases full of his wallpapering and painting tools. In 1911 it didn't do to leave your luggage out of your sight so he tried to keep it by his feet whenever possible.

When the train stopped, the man picked up his luggage, ignoring the twinge of pain across his chest. He was a short man, only 5' 8" and heavy, weighing almost 215 lbs. At 55 years old he figured he wasn't in as good shape anymore and wasn't surprised that his chest and arm ached.

Carrying these suitcases as he went door to door looking for odd jobs was enough to make anyone have aches and pains! He was a drifter and went from town to town in the Western states, barely making enough to pay for his travel expenses. But that was how he had chosen to live.

He liked being alone and going places where no one knew who he was and the cries of "There goes Nigger Joe!" FN no longer rang in his ears. For that was what the townspeople called him in the town where he grew up. His grandfather, a free man of colour from Pennsylvania, married an Irish woman and his father married a German woman so he could, and did, pass for white among those who had not known his family.

It was growing dark and was drizzling a bit, so he picked up his pace. Even though it was a comfortable 67' he was sweating as he hurried towards the stairs to the Higgins Avenue Bridge.  Trudging up the stairs he noticed he was out of breath and his chest was tingling with bursts of sharp pain. He hoped he'd find a room to rent fairly close by once he crossed the bridge into town.

The bridge was crowded with townspeople but he barely noticed as the pain in his chest increased. Halfway across the bridge, he stopped and set down his heavy cases, gasping for breath as a lightning jolt of pain hit. He leaned against the railing and then suddenly fell and lay there, not moving. A woman screamed and a few men rushed to him to see if they could help him up. But the stranger lay dead. One of the men shook his head and told his friend to run and get Doc Walsh or the town police.

The body was taken to the Undertaker where Doc Walsh went through the man's belongings. Letters revealed that his name was Joseph E. Butler and he had relatives in Grafton North Dakota. A telegram was sent to the local police in Grafton and a brother came forward. Jake Butler provided the police with Joseph's wife's name and address in Seaforth Ontario Canada and a telegram was sent to her. While we do not have that telegram we can imagine what it said

Regret to inform you of passing of your husband Joseph E. Butler. Please advise what to do with body.
It must have been a shock to Carrie Butler, his wife. Joseph had deserted the family about 10 years earlier and had not been heard from since.  He left behind his wife and 6 children ages 7 to 20. There was no love lost between Carrie and Joseph and in later years she would not talk about him or his disappearance, only saying "he went out west" when asked by her granddaughter Mary. Nothing more was said and no one had the nerve to ask Carrie for details. Again, while we don't have the telegram Carrie sent back to Missoula, we can imagine her terse words

Bury him in Missoula
And so Joseph E. Butler, my husband's great-great grandfather, was buried alone in the Missoula Cemetery in Missoula Montana. It took me over 15 years to find his death but last night was my genealogy breakthrough. I followed a hunch I had that he had ended up in North Dakota near his brother Jake, and finding a grave online for a J. E. Butler prompted me to look for records of this J. E. Butler. None were found, it was as if he had come out of nowhere. No census, no marriage, no sign that he had ever lived in or near Missoula Montana. So why was he buried there and with an actual marker?

A phone call by my husband's cousin Judy to the Cemetery and to the Funeral Home that handled his autopsy and death provided us with the following information:

Name Joseph E. Butler. Died May 17, 1911. Place of death Missoula Bridge. Coroner said Heart Disease. No name of coroner. Buried May 27, 1911. Paid cash but no name of who paid. 

The Daily Missoulian, May 18, 1911, p12
With that I went on a hunt for a death certificate or newspaper notice, something that would give us a place of birth or spouse's name. I still was not sure this was "our" Joseph at this point. At that is where luck and friends came into play. I found an index entry to a newspaper death notice placed in The Missoulian on May 18th and put out a request on Facebook for anyone with access to this edition to copy and send it to me. 

At the same time I began a search online and found that the Missoulian was available for free at Chronicling America. As I was pulling up that date, a Facebook friend sent me the article.  I eventually found 3 articles about Joseph and his lonely death in Missoula on the Higgins Avenue Bridge. 

Our cousin Judy mentioned how said it was that he died alone, but I don't think it was the saddest part of this story, for he chose the life of a drifter. 

For me the sad part was that his granddaughter Mary (my husband's grandmother) is not with us to learn what happened to her grandfather. It was a mystery she longed to solve and I would have loved to share this with her.

And so the story ends. 103 years later, Joseph has been found. Perhaps one day we may be able to visit his grave in Missoula and pay our respects.

FN This description of the nickname the townspeople had for Joseph came from the grandson of a man who knew Joseph personally. 

The Daily Missoulian., May 19, 1911, Morning, Page 10
The Daily Missoulian., May 23, 1911, Morning, Page 10,








August 27, 2014

Oldest house in Britain discovered to be 11,500 years old

Oldest house in Britain discovered to be 11,500 years old
A Typical Archeology Dig
This is fascinating. Archeologists  uncovered a  circular structure near Scarborough, North Yorkshire, which dates back to the Stone Age 8,500 years BC. It was found next to a former lake and predates the dwelling previously thought to be Britain's oldest, at Howick, Northumberland, by at least 500 years.

The team said they are also excavating a large wooden platform made of timbers which have been split and hewn. It is thought to be the earliest evidence of carpentry in Europe.

It's fun to think about the possibility that one of your ancestors lived in this house! If you have ancestors from Scarborough Yorkshire this is certainly a possibility. My daughter-in-law has roots that go back to that area so it's interesting to speculate.

Have you researched the history of your house? Two years ago I researched the land where we built our home 16 years ago and that was fun. It used to be a large farm piece of property which was severed over the past 100 years. It was fun to look up the previous owners in census records.  Next I want to research the old homes I lived in when I was in town, especially the house that was haunted!

Read more at Oldest house in Britain discovered to be 11,500 years old

August 26, 2014

Sneak Peek at Season Finale of Who Do You Think You Are?

Image Credit: TLC
The season finale of Who Do You Think You Are? Airs Wednesday August 27 at 9/8c

Who Do You Think You Are? is a TLC TV series sponsored by Ancestry.com

Lorine's Note:
I  watched a Screener Video of this episode which TCL kindly sent me and although I cannot divulge much of what is in it, I can tell you that the Season Finale is going to be mind-blowing! I'm going to watch it again when it airs tomorrow night.  For now, here's a little summary of some of the happenings:

Minnie Driver sets out to learn more about her secretive father and traces the highs and lows of his career in the Royal Air Force during World War II. 

Through military documents, she comes to understand why her father was the way he was, and how his combat experience impacted the rest of his life. 

Since Minnie never met her paternal grandparents, she follows the trail in England until she comes face-to-face with the very first relative she’s ever met on her father’s side, and finds a kindred spirit in a family member she never knew about.

August 25, 2014

What's Your Mix?

What's Your Mix?
My English great grandfather David Simpson
It occurred to me a few days ago that I don't know my mix. By "mix" I mean the % of my ethnic ancestors I have in my bloodline. 

I know I have Irish, English, Dutch, American and Canadian but as to percentage of each group, I've never bothered to figure it out. So here goes!

I'm only going to go back 5 generations because that way every branch of my ancestors is known to me. I can go back 15-20 generations on some lines but not my Irish McGinnis family. I don't want to assume they are Irish going back from my 2nd great grandfather Joseph McGinnis. 

So - if I take my lineage back to my 2nd great grandparents, who's in the mix? And where were they born?

Paternal Ancestors:
3 born in Ireland, 2 in England and 3 in Canada
Joseph McGinnis & Fanny Downey - both born Ireland
David King & Mary Bell - both born England
Levi Peer & Jane Greenlees - Levi born Upper Canada (Ontario). Jane born Ireland
Isaac Vollick & Lydia Jamieson - both born Ontario. Isaac and Lydia's lineage is Dutch

Maternal Ancestors: 
8 born in England!
Charles Fuller & Georgiana Golding - both born Kent England
John Caspall & Mary Ann Williams - John born Kent, Mary Ann born Devon
Charles Simpson & Sarah Jane Page - both born Kent England
William Stead & Sarah Elvery - both born Kent England

Of my 8 great grandparents, 4 were born in Ontario and 4 in England
Of my 4 grandparents, 2 were born in Ontario and 2 in England
My mom and dad were both born in Ontario

Ireland = 3
England = 16
Canada = 11

I'd need to go futrher back to bring in my Dutch, German and Native American ancestors. 

The total is 30 so I can calculate what % of 30 each of those numbers is.  I do it with Algebra: 

We know that Ireland is 3 out of 30
So X % = 3/30
Therefore X/100 = 3/30
Next step is X= 3x100 / 30
Thus X=300/30
X=10

It looks like I am 53% English, 37% Canadian and 10% Irish. What's your mix?

August 24, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 34: School's out For Summer!

Sharing Memories Week 34: School's out For Summer!
My son and his best friend
Here is a Challenge for all genealogy bloggers. I want you to keep a weekly journal called Sharing Memories. Some of you may recall that in 2010, 2011 and 2012 I provided weekly prompts to help with writing up memories of ancestors and ourselves. 

If you missed this weekly series called Sharing Memories you might want to have a look and see if any of the prompts appeal to you.

This week's prompt is School's out For Summer!

What did you do when school was over for the summer? As a young child did you go to Grandma's or summer camp or stay home with mom? As a teenager did you get a summer job? 

My mother worked so I stayed home with my older sister in charge. Then as a teen I worked all summer at our local library. 

Summers were fun as a kid. I hung around with my best friend Janie (who I met in Grade 3). We hiked out in the country, we sat in our rooms and shared confidences, we hunted for tadpoles in the local creek, and we embarked on dozens of adventures! We were inseparable and spent every day together. In fact Janie remained my very best friend until her death 2 years ago. 

If you have seen the movie Stand By Me, that was Janie and I and our adventures every summer. We shared many fun times exploring the woods, going where our parents had forbidden us to go. The old deserted house out in the country was one of our favourite scary places to hike to and explore. We saw signs of tramps having been there - old rusty cans of beans, spots where fires had been set inside the house, filthy bedding, etc.

On the rare times we weren't together, I went to the playground just down the road from our house and spent many happy hours on the swings, content with my dreams and ideas. 

August 23, 2014

Review of Top Hat Photo Repair and a Discount for my Readers

Recently a photo restoration service called Top Hat Photo Repair offered to restore a photo of my choice in exchange for a review of their services. I have dozens of old photos that need some restoration work so the offer was tempting.

However I my reviews are always honest so I had to warned them that if I didn't like the service they would not get a good review from me. Well I'm pleased to say I am very happy with the work they did! 

Here is the before photo. It's a very dark photo of my grandmother holding my mother ca 1916. 


I love this photo. Clothes on the line, Grandma's pocket bulging with clothespegs and my mom no doubt squirming in her arms. 

Here is the photo after Top Hat Photo Repair was finished restoring it. I can see Grandma's face better and my mom's face is completely visible now. They were very accommodating about doing more on the photo after sending me their first restoration. There were 2 small items I wasn't 100% satisfied with in the first attempt but I love the final product below.
Review of Top Hat Photo Repair and a Discount for my Readers
Michael, of Top Hat Photo Repair has offered my readers a discount of 20% on photo restoration. Just use the promo code "olive"  This discount is good until September 15, 2014. Their prices are very reasonable and I hope some of my readers will be able to take advantage of this offer.

August 22, 2014

Deadly Victorian Fashions


Deadly Victorian Fashions
What we do in the name of beauty, vanity and fashion! During the Civil War women wore corsets laced so tightly they could barely breathe, and often fainted from lack of oxygen. 

Victorian times were no better, with women wearing everything from gowns made with  arsenic-based dye to create a beautiful green colour, to flammable crinolines. When fashionable women wore the wide based crinoline under their skirt or dress, they could very easily set themselves on fire not realizing how close the bottom of their skirt was to an open flame.

It wasn't just those wearing the garments who died or suffered serious side effects - those working in the hatting occupation were working with poisonous mercury and suffered from mercury poisoning. Hence the expression "mad as a hatter"
 
Visit Deadly Victorian fashions to see the photographs and read more about deadly fashions.

August 21, 2014

Discovery of Old Unknown Cemetery

This is an exciting find of a previously unknown and unrecorded cemetery. I am not sure who found this old burial spot in Ontario Canada but the YouTube channel is owned by NPBOGS which stands for Niagara Peninsula Branch Ontario Genealogical Society.

The explanation with the online video says

"We came across this cemetery from a tip that we received from an OGS [Ontario Genealogical Society]Member. Besides taking photos and other information we preformed [sic] Dowsing and from what can gather there are approx 8 plots. Please see video for more details."


August 20, 2014

New Ebook: Organize Your Genealogy in Evernote in 10 Easy Steps

New Ebook: Organize Your Genealogy in Evernote in 10 Easy Steps
Organize Your Genealogy in Evernote in 10 Easy Steps is now available on Amazon.com for only $1.25

This 22 page book  is a step by step guide to using Evernote to organize your genealogy files in 10 easy steps. 

You will learn how to create notes, how to set up notebooks, how to create stacks, the benefits of tags and how to set up a hierarchical structure for them, how to create virtual genealogy binders, how to merge Notes, easy ways to transfer your computer files into an Evernote Note, and more.

You will be able to follow each step to create your own Genealogy Notebooks full of your research (documents, photos, audio files, and more) on all your ancestors. 


Following these 10 steps your Genealogy files will be organized, easily accessible and readily available to share with others if desired. 

Please note that Kindle books can be read on any Kindle device, on iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, Android device, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7, and through the Kindle Cloud Reader.

Sneak Peek at Kelsey Grammar Episode WDYTYA Tonight!

Sneak Peek at Kelsey Grammar Episode WDYTYA Tonight!
TLC’s two time Emmy-nominated series Who Do You Think You Are? sponsored by Ancestry.com continues, and this week actor Kelsey Grammer explores his family history tonight, August 20 at 9/8c.  

In his episode, Kelsey Grammer takes a trip into the past to explore his beloved grandmother’s family. Wanting  to understand more about the grandmother who raised him,  he sets out to learn the circumstances of her early life. He uncovers the story of a woman haunted by demons, and finds a connection to family who risked everything in one of the greatest migrations in American history.

Here’s a sneak peek of Kelsey's journey. 



In addition to this season’s new premieres, TLC has also acquired episodes from previous seasons of the series, marking their first debut on cable. Tomorrow night will feature encores of Reba McEntire’s episode at 8/9c, and Vanessa Williams’ episode at 10/9c.


Next week Minnie Driver’s episode will air as the season finale on August 27. Next week’s encore episodes will include Tim McGraw and Rita Wilson.

August 19, 2014

Great News! My Canvas Is NOT Retiring!!

Great News! My Canvas Is NOT Retiring!!
This past June, Ancestry.com announced that they were retiring the MyCanvas website and service in September 2014. 

Today Eric Shoup of Ancestry, made this announcement:

We’ve heard from many people who love MyCanvas and hate the idea of it going away. Well, we have some good news for you: It’s not going away after all. We listened and decided not to retire MyCanvas, but instead transfer the website to Alexander’s. 

Continue reading for more details at MyCanvas Finds a New Home in Alexander’s

UPDATE 3:06 pm

I have just heard from Alexander's (the company taking over MyCanvas) and they WILL ship to Canadians! Here is part of their email to Olive Tree Genealogy just a few minutes ago:

"We're happy to let you know the service will remain available and that we will provide access to those in Canada as well as ship the books to Canadian addresses."

For those who were not aware of this, we Canadians could not use MyCanvas as Ancestry would not ship to us. This is wonderful news! 

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album P26R

Page 26 R
This Photo Archive consists of a small autograph album (6.5" by 5.25") kept by Constance (Connie) Philips as a memento of her time serving as a nurse during World War One.  

The majority of the photos and items are from 1915, when she served as a nurse in France and Britain. 

The album and all photographs, postcards, and other ephemera contained in the album belong to Karin Armstrong and may not be copied or republished without her written permission. The images will be published on Olive Tree Genealogy with permission. 

Each image has been designated an "R" for Recto or a "V" for Verso plus a number. Recto is the right-hand side page of a bound book while Verso is the left-hand side page.  

Today's image is of three items pasted into the R side of Connie's album. The first is a poem dated June 16, 1915 and signed by Lance Sergt. K. J. McRae of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards. The second is of two unknown individuals on horseback and the 3rd is s small newspaper clipping of the death of Sister A. Tupper. The clipping reads

Sister A. Tupper (Canadian Nursing Service) who has died She had been awarded the Royal Red Cross.


My research on Sister Tupper revealed that Nursing Sister A.A. Tupper died 9 Dec 1916 at the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Uxbridge, and was buried in Hillingdon Cemetery in Uxbridge England. The cause of her death was pneumonia.

Sister Tupper's gravestone is marked with:

Nursing Sister Canadian Army Medical Corps No. 2 Canadian Gen. Hosp.
Awards: A R R C
Daughter of Mrs. Mary E. Trefry, of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.


Her next of kin on her death record was noted as Mrs. Mary Trefry in Bridgewater Nova Scotia, Canada and this allowed me to find her Attestation Papers. Addie Allen Tupper enlisted in the CEF (Canadian Expedtionary Force) as a Nursing Sister in September 1914. She was a widow and was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on October 13, 1870.

On 15 November 1915 Addie sailed from England on the Metagama, landing at the port of Quebec. She is on a list of "Returning Soldiers" with aother Nursing Sister named Florence McCallum. On 14 December 1915 Addie and Florence returned to England. 

Addie's mother Mary died in 1931 at the age of 93. Her obituary reads, in part:

Her immediate relatives are four daughters, Mrs. Wade of England, wife of the late F.B. Wade, M.P., who was well-known here; Mrs. Alfred Wade; Mrs. Frances Starr; and Mrs. H.M. Patillo, who were at her bedside when the death angel came. Her husband, Captain Rufus Perry Trefry, predeceased her in 1909, as did a daughter, Nursing Sister Tupper, who sailed with the First Expeditionary Force for service in France in 1914. She was the second to enlist for service from Bridgewater and died of pneumonia in England, in 1918 [sic], following close on her decoration at Buckingham Palace. She is buried at Uxbridge, England.

Mary's obituary provides more details on the family:

Mrs. Trefry, whose maiden name was Mary Ellen Raymond, was born at Yarmouth and was the daughter of the late Mary Patten and Benjamin Raymond.

1898 Marriage Record William Tupper & Addie Allen
Although Addie gave her date of birth as 1870 in reality she was 10 years older. I suspect she lied when she enlisted as she probably knew that the military was unlikely to accept a woman in her 50s. She is found on census records with Rufus and Mary Trefry but she is recorded as Addie C. Allen on some. It seems that her father was not Captain Rufus Trefry but a man named George Allen. Addie's marriage to William S. Tupper in 1898 in Nova Scotia names George as her father. At her marriage she reveals her true age of 38, giving her an estimated year of birth of 1860. She was 54 years old when she enlisted -what a courageous woman! 

I will be posting the entire album and my additional research on the individuals identified in Connie's album over the coming months so please check back frequently to view these historic photos. The easiest way to see what has been published is to click on the topic "Nursing Sister WW1 Photos" in the vertical menu bar on the right side of your screen. You can also click on that phrase at the bottom of this post.

August 18, 2014

August 18 1920 American Women Won the Right to Vote

Almost 100 years ago, the 19th amendment was passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920. The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,  provided:  

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Canadian women won the right to vote in 1918 although women in Manitoba could vote in their Provincial Elections in 1916. Quebec women fared the worst with women not being granted Provincial voting rights until 1940!

On 24 May 1918, all female Canadian citizens aged 21 and over became eligible to vote in federal elections, regardless of whether they had yet attained the provincial franchise. However, the Elections Canada website specifies what conditions were attached to such eligibility:  

"age 21 or older, not alien-born and meet property requirements in provinces where they exist." 

Have you ever wondered if your grandmother or great-grandmother was involved in the Suffragette Movement? I hope mine were. I am quite sure they supported it but did they go out and protest in the streets? I don't know.

We fought hard to gain this right but I wonder how many of us use it. Do you vote? I know I sometimes miss although I do try to make it to every election voting day. I don't want to let my grandmothers down by not exercising that right.

August 17, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 33: Let's Visit Grandma!

Sharing Memories Week 33: Let's Visit Grandma!
Here is a Challenge for all genealogy bloggers. I want you to keep a weekly journal called Sharing Memories. Some of you may recall that in 2010, 2011 and 2012 I provided weekly prompts to help with writing up memories of ancestors and ourselves. 

If you missed this weekly series called Sharing Memories you might want to have a look and see if any of the prompts appeal to you. Many readers asked me to continue with the prompts this year so that is what I am going to do.

This week's prompt is Let's Visit Grandma!

Was visiting Grandma a favorite time for you? Did you get to see her very often? Which grandmother was it? What did you like best about the visit and was there anything you didn't like?

We went to Guelph Ontario about once a month to visit my Grandma McGinnis. I loved going although I hated the actual car ride as I got carsick every time. But I loved getting to see my cousins much more than Grandma. Grandma rarely spoke to us children. She wasn't unkind, she just didn't  talk to us except to say hello and ask how school was. 

We'd make the rounds to dad's brothers Joe and Roy. His other brother Clare lived with Grandma so that was two visits in one. I didn't like Grandma's house on Water Street - it smelled and the only bathroom was in the basement. Her basement scared me. It had a dirt floor and a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The bathroom was very small and the sink was stained and yellow. There wasn't a shower, and in fact I can't recall if there was even a bathtub! I've never quite gotten over my fear of basements and I make my husband go with me when I go to ours. it doesn't have a dirt floor but it still makes me anxious.

The one cool thing was that Grandma lived just a few houses down the street from John McCrae's house (author of In Flanders Fields). She lived there from the early 1900s so it is quite possible she knew him.

I never thought of this as a child but as an adult I have to wonder why we never visited my mother's mother. She lived in Guelph too but I don't remember us taking time to drop in on her. 

 

 

August 16, 2014

WW 1 Photo Album Archive page 17

Continuing on with my WW1 Photo Album archive here is the 17th page in my mother's cousin Doris Simpson's album.


WW 1 Photo Album Archive page 17
 Auntie Cordie is 2nd from the right. Doris is partially hidden in a dark dress, 4th from the right.

Auntie Cordie (Cook) Simpson with daughter Doris ca 1920

Cousin Doris Simpson with dog ca 1920

August 15, 2014

Refugees of Irish Famine to Get a Proper Burial

Refugees of Irish Famine to Get a Proper Burial
When the Irish Famine hit in the late 1840s, thousands upon thousands of starving immigrants made their way to N. America in what became known as Coffin Ships. Many died during the sea voyage and many more died once they reached the port of arrival. 

My Irish McGinnis ancestors arrived in Upper Canada (present day Ontario) in 1847 with a one year old child. I cannot begin to imagine what they endured to come to this new land. 

In New York so many Irish immigrants died while in quarantine that the city ran out of spaces to bury the bodies. Because of the lack of space, thousands of bodies were stacked anonymously, three and four deep, in trenches dug behind the hospital.

Now, more than 150 years later, the remains of 83 men, women and children, recovered from the quarantine’s hastily dug ditches, will be re-interred and given a proper burial.

Read the rest of the story at Refugees of Irish Famine to Get a Proper Burial

August 14, 2014

New E-Book Writing Your Memoirs For Descendants

We all love to find a journal or diary or  a letter written by a great-great-grandfather or grandmother or another ancestor.  But we often forget that our own stories will be just as exciting to our children and grandchildren. It's  important for us to record our own memories and write our own journals to pass on to our descendants.

I'm very excited to let everyone know that I have written an E-Book  called Writing Your Memoirs For Descendants: Prompts for Recording & Preserving Your Family Stories and Memories available on Amazon.com for only $2.99

My 54 page E-Book provides almost 150 prompts and suggestions for guiding  you  as you record your childhood memories and stories. Each prompt has several questions designed to jog your memory of events. It also contains suggestions for publishing your journals to share with family members.

For those who have been following my Sharing Memories blog posts, you will be happy to know that my E-Book has new prompts organized by categories. For example one category is Firsts (first Kiss, first Dance, first airplane ride, first birth in family, first car, first death in family, first wedding in family, etc. )

Did you know that if family stories are not recorded and preserved, they will be lost within 3 generations? Don't let that happen to your precious family memories!

August 13, 2014

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album P4R Cripps Postcard & Obit

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album P4R Cripps Postcard & Obit
Page 4R: postcard from Harry Cripps. Under it is tucked his obituary
This Photo Archive consists of a small autograph album (6.5" by 5.25") kept by Constance (Connie) Philips as a memento of her time serving as a nurse during World War One.  

The majority of the photos and items are from 1915, when she served as a nurse in France and Britain. 

The album and all photographs, postcards, and other ephemera contained in the album belong to Karin Armstrong and may not be copied or republished without her written permission. The images will be published on Olive Tree Genealogy with permission. 

Each image has been designated an "R" for Recto or a "V" for Verso plus an album page number. Recto is the right-hand side page of a bound book while Verso is the left-hand side page.  

The postcard found on this page from Sapper C.H.T. Cripps, Reg. #2121, 1st Canadian Div. [BEF?] France is dated 30 September 1915 and addressed to Nurse Philips, #2 Stationary Hospital (crossed out), #2 Can. General, Canadian Exp. Force, Le Treport Hosp. France. It reads:

Have got this far at last. Don't suppose I shall see you, unless I get bowled over and ask for #2 Stat. Hosp. Am leaving for the line tonight. Kindest regards, 
Harry Cripps
His obituary is from a newspaper clipping. It is brief and reads:

Died of Wounds.
Sapper Harry Cripps, who, after spending a year in the trenches, is reported to have died of wounds Sept.11. Prior to enlistment he was in the employ of the C.N.R. and for several years was a resident of Snowflake, Man., where many friends will regret to learn of his death.

Harry's Attestation Papers provide his full name - Charles Henry Townsend Cripps. He was born January 26, 1886 in Wanstead, Essex England. Harry gave his next-of-kin as Bessie Cripps living in England. His enlistment date was April 1915 in Winnipeg Manitoba.

Young Harry was killed in France 13 September 1916 just one year after sending his postcard to Nursing Sister Connie Philips. He was buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery near Doulens France. The War Graves Registers give the details of what happened to Harry on the day he died. He was with the 1st. C. D. E., 3rd Field Company of Canadian Engineers when he died.

Canada, War Graves Register for Sapper Harry Cripps
I will be posting the entire album and my additional research on the individuals identified in Connie's album over the coming months so please check back frequently to view these historic photos. The easiest way to see what has been published is to click on the topic "Nursing Sister WW1 Photos" in the vertical menu bar on the right side of your screen. You can also click on that phrase at the bottom of this post.


August 12, 2014

Good Stuff on Tomorrow's Who Do You Think You Are? with Valerie Bertinelli

Image courtesy of TLC
Tomorrow night's episode at 9PM ET/PT on TLC and with Ancestry.com as a sponsor features Valerie Bertinelli and
airs August 13 at 9PM ET/PT

TLC kindly sent me a screener video to preview, but I can't share that with you. I can however guarantee that you will not want to miss tomorrow night's episode! It's amazing what turns up when digging into the past.

Valerie Bertinelli embarks on a mission to learn more about her beloved Italian grandmother and discovers her grandmother's mother, an incredibly strong woman who overcame great odds. 

But the biggest surprises are on Valerie's maternal side, since her mother knows nothing about her own roots. Traveling to England, Valerie uncovers previously unknown connections to the Quakers, early Pennsylvania history, and even the British aristocracy.

She tracks down courageous ancestors who suffered through hardship and tragedy, and discovers a royal lineage dating back centuries that she never dreamed possible. And now for a sneak peek! Enjoy

August 11, 2014

Don't Let Family Lore Lead You Astray!

Don't Let Family Lore Lead You Astray!
TWISS family on Ship Peruvian September 1888
Olive Tree Genealogy had an interesting question from Shannah about her grandfather.  My findings point out the need to take family lore with a grain of salt and not accept it as gospel. 

Here is Shannah's email:


I have been trying to find out where my Grfa., TWISS, William James, had "landed" for over ten years, to no avail, from Cty. Cork, Ireland to New York, USA..  He was a mere 17 year old, at the time.  

The story I was told was that it was my Grfa. who had left Cork, Ireland, from Sept. to December of 1887 (I believe these are the months) on the Barque Julia, from Edinburough to Cork and to New York.  This particular Barque was a ship of supplies and the Captain was a friend of my Gr-Grpars., TWISS, Francis Edward Day, Sr..  It was my Grfa. who had suggested that he, himself, come out to Canada, first and they allowed it but he must go with someone they knew.  It was only a few days' trip and have researched into several ports along the eastern coast to no avail.  When he had landed, he had stayed with friends of his pars., (never knew who they were) Francis Edward Day and Ellen THOMPSON, in New York for a while then travelled up into BINBROOK, Wentworth Cty., Ontario, Canada to stay with our cousins/family there while his own pars. arrived through Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the following springtime.
First I made a mental summary of the important statements in Shannah's email:

1. William James Twiss born ca 1870 Ireland immigrated to N. America on the ship Julia in 1887
2. William's parents Francis Edward Day & Ellen Twiss sailed to Montreal Quebec in spring of 1888

Making a mental note of these statements  does not mean I accepted them as fact. It was obvious they were family lore passed on through the generations. After searching on Ancestry.com in census records to gain a better understanding of the Twiss family group, their names, ages and residence, I knew that Francis Edward went by Edward, when he was born, his given year of immigration and that he was in British Columbia from 1891 census on.

Turning to the Immigration records on Ancestry.com it did not take long to find Edward, his wife Ellen and 3 daughters sailing from Cobh, Ireland on the ship Peruvian. The Peruvian made stops at three ports: Baltimore Maryland, St. John Newfoundland and Halifax Nova Scotia. Beside the names of Edward and his family was the notation that they were headed to Victoria (British Columbia) Their arrival date was September 4, 1888. It is not clear if the family left the ship at St. John or Halifax but I suggest it was Halifax. From there they could continue their journey to British Columbia.

This is a typical example of family stories becoming mixed up over the years. My suggestion to Shannah for continuing the search for William is that she extend her year of immigration by 5 years on either side and not assume the ship name of Julia is correct.  She should also look for William in the 1891 census and all census years after that. The 1901 census provides an immigration year but she should still allow 5 years on either side of whatever is recorded. 

Hint for Shannah: In 1891 your grandfather is recorded as James W. Twiss and he is found with his parents and sisters in Victoria B.C. He is mis-indexed on Ancestry.com as the son of a Thomas Stephens but the image clearly shows him in the Twiss family. It's always wise to ignore the index information if a search result seems like a good possibility - always check the actual image if there is one.

August 10, 2014

Sharing Memories Week 32 - Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

Sharing Memories Week 32 - Liar Liar Pants on Fire!
Join us for Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey We focus on memories of our parents, grandparents and others. We write for our children and grandchildren, that the memories are not lost over time. I hope you are keeping a journal, whether it is private or public, and joining us as we write our memoirs.

The prompt for this week (Week 32) is Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

Did you tell fibs as a child? Or were you always honest and truthful. Were your fibs little ones ("No Mommy I didn't eat that cookie.") or were they whoppers ("No Mommy I didn't cut sister's hair.")? 

I told a few fibs in my time. Some were whoppers. After saving up for a long time, my parents bought a stereo system. And one day I scratched my initials into the top. I was about 7 years old at the time. Why did I do it? I don't know, but I remember thinking how nice and shiny it was before getting my mother's tiny sewing machine screwdriver and going at it. 

When my parents spotted the shaky "L.M." scratched on top of their pride and joy, they obviously knew it was me but I accused my brother who had the same initials. However big brother was 9 years older than me so no way did Mom and Dad believe he did it. 

I outgrew the lying stage of childhood and in fact I can't even tell a social white lie because people can tell I'm not being honest! My husband says it's something to do with the look on my face. 

What about you? Do you remember telling fibs when you were a kid?



August 9, 2014

Seamstress Hides Secret Message in Kilt in WW1

Seamstress Hides Secret Message in Kilt in WW1
Hiding secret messages? World War 1?  Sounds like a James Bond Spy Novel - but it isn't quite. Recently a woman found a secret message hidden in the folds of a kit which had been in her family for many years. The kilt had never been worn and was obviously made for a soldier heading off to the front during WW1. 

The message read: "I hope your kilt will fit you well, & in it you will look a swell. If married never mind. If single drop a line. Wish you bags of luck, & a speedy return back to Blighty." Underneath was the name of Helen Govan, of 49 Ardgowan Street in Glasgow. 

Who was Helen Govan? Perhaps she was an unmarried seamstress hoping to hear back from a possible future husband. Perhaps she was simply a kind-hearted woman who wanted to brighten a soldier's day. 

Did Helen stuff a note into every kilt she stitched? Or was this a one-time occurrence meant specifically for a man who had ordered the kilt? There are so many unanswered questions but how wonderful if we knew what happened to Helen in Glasgow. 

Continue reading at Secret message found in WW1 kilt

Credits: Image  thardy1 on flickr,com
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

August 8, 2014

Top Ten Canadian Genealogy Websites

Top Ten Canadian Genealogy Websites
Recently FamilyTreeMagazine published a list of their Top 100 Genealogy sites. Included was a category for Top Canadian Genealogy with only 4 sites named. That was disappointing considering all the great Canadian Genealogy websites out there, so several of us bloggers decided to publish own list of the Top 10 Canadian Genealogy websites.

Here is my list, in no particular order. I have included both free and pay-to-view sites simply because my criteria is quality. And often quality costs money. We genealogists are lucky to have so many quality sites that are also free. 

I wanted this list to be as generic as possible, that is, to cover all or most of Canada if possible. There are excellent websites for specific provinces and territories but they are not included here as they do not hold record sets for all of Canada.

* Library & Archives Canada (free) - dozens of free online databases for anyone with ancestors who lived in Canada. It is not always easy to use but if you can struggle through it is well worth it.

* Olive Tree Genealogy (free) Yes I know it's my site. But it has many terrific databases such as ships' passenger lists to Canada, Loyalist information and land records in Ontario.

* The Ancestor Hunt (free) I use Kenneth R. Marks'  blog for a comprehensive list of links for online Canadian Newspapers.

* TheShipsList (free) Sue Swiggum's amazing site is chock full of early ship passages up the St. Lawrence River.

* Ancestry.ca/Ancestry.com (fee-based) - So many terrific Canadian records I can't possibly list them all. They range from Canadian census records, voter's lists, vital statistics and more. Both locales (.ca and .com) have identical record sets.

* Our Roots (free) Specializes in Canadian local histories in French and English

* Canada GenWeb Project (free) The Canada GenWeb provides an easy way for genealogists to choose their province or territory of interest. Each specific site's value is dependent on the host's knowledge and interest, but it is well worth checking out.

* Canadiana Online (free) Even though this site is frustrating to use due to incorrect content listings of its digitized microfilm, it has digitized Canadian records that are not available elsewhere. For anyone using this site, please be aware that I have begun publishing my corrected content listings and partial indexes for their online microfilms at Finding  Aid for Heir & Devisee Commission Online Films

* FamilySearch Canadian Collection (free) FamilySearch currently has 81 databases for Canada online. Some are indexed, others are not but it is worth your time to take a look at what is available.

* The Canadian Military Heritage Project  (free) There are several excellent sites for specific Canadian military records such as War Dead, but not many that provide an overall perspective of all military wars and skirmishes Canada was part of. CMHP does just that plus it provides links to online databases for each war. It also provides  several biographies of soldiers and other interesting data.