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November 30, 2008

New Jersey Genealogy Records Online

I wonder how many genealogists know about the terrific New Jersey records online at Olive Tree Genealogy
New Jersey Church Records

* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1756-1774
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1775-1777
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1778-1779
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1780-1781
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1782-1784
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1785-1787
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1788-1789
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1790-1791
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1792-1793
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1794
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1795
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1796
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1797
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1798
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1799
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1800
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1801-1802
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1803-1804
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1805-1806
* Baptisms Old Dutch Church, Totowa, New Jersey 1807-1822
* Marriages Elizabethtown, (was Essex Co.)
* Marriages in Hackensack pre 1700
* Early Settlers in Hackensack
* First Reformed Dutch Church at Montville, Morris Co., Baptisms 1786-1828
* First Reformed Dutch Church at Montville, Morris Co., Marriages 1826-1873

New Jersey Cemetery Records

* Montville Reformed Church Cemetery, Montville Twp. Morris County New Jersey:
** Surnames A to C
** Surnames D
**Surnames E to F
** Surnames G to H
**Surnames J to L
**Surnames M to N
** Surnames P
** Surnames Q to R
** Surnames S to T
**Surnames V
**Surnames W to Z
* Graveyard Records of the True Reformed Church, Montville, New Jersey on Changebridge Road Also known as the Seceder Cemetery

New Jersey Census Records

* Bergen Twp 1794 Rateable
* Town Officers Pequannock Twp. 1740-1749
* Town Officers Pequannock Twp. 1750-1759
* Pequannock Township Tax Ratables May 1778 and (February 1780)
* 1793 Militia List Wantage Twp

New Jersey Muster Rolls

* Muster Roll NJ Volunteers Lt. Allen's Co. 6th Battalion
* Muster Roll NJ Volunteers Cpt. Shaw's Co.
* Muster Roll NJ Volunteers Cpt Hopkins Co.
* Muster Roll NJ Volunteers Cpt Shaw's Co.
* Muster Roll NJ Volunteers 5th Battalion Cpt. Crowell's Co.
* Muster Roll NJ Volunteers 1st Battalion Cpt. Millidge's Co.
* Muster Roll NJ Volunteers Col. Barton's Co. 1st Battalion
* Muster Roll NJ Volunteers Cpt. Cougle's Co. 1st Battalion
* 1793 Militia List Wantage Twp

New Jersey Family Trees

* New Jersey Pier Family
* New Jersey Post Family

November 29, 2008

Special Deals on

Footnote.comI thought this was kind of a nice "Christmasy" graphic, and I wanted to share the news that is currently offering subscriptions for 15 months for the price of 12 months

Many of you know how much I love Footnote. I've found many naturalization records for ancestors and their families, but there are many more records available. Civil War records from NARA, Revolutionary War Pensions, Newspapers, and some very interesting interactive features are only a few of the goodies on Footnote. Be sure you stop by their Vietnam Wall while you are on the site.

I'm going to check over the next week to see if other fee-based websites are offering Christmas Specials and will write about them on this blog if I find any.

November 27, 2008

Ontario Canada Voter's Lists 1867-1900 ONLINE

Ontario Voter's Lists 1867-1900 are now online, courtesy of I took a few minutes to search them this morning for my own ancestors, and it's well worth having a look.

Some years have information - name of voter, residence, and whether the individual was an occupant, owner or tenant of the home he was in. Even though it may seem basic, it helps determine where and if an ancestor was living in those years.

Others have residence, description of voter (male or female), whether or not they are eligble as a juror and if they are eligible to vote in special elections or regular. some years include an occupation.

After confederation in 1867 the government began keeping registration lists of eligible voters. Some of the lists are separated according to who is eligible to vote at Municipal elections and who is eligible to vote at Legislative Assembly elections. description of this database staes "Women weren’t granted the right to vote until 1918, so there won’t be any women listed in these records." This is incorrect. For example a search using only the first name CATHERINE brought up 526 hits!

Voter registers are valuable records to use as census substitutes, since they will usually contain the names of heads of households and other adults. Because voter registers were published on a fairly consistent basis they are useful for tracking individuals over time and place.

Although the title of this database is ONTARIO Voter's List, I found over 500 names from Montreal Centre, Quebec in the 1867 lists.

So that makes even more reason to search Ontario Voter's Lists 1867-1900 - there ARE women on the list and there are names from Quebec as well as Ontario.

November 26, 2008

Why Passports are Good Genealogy Resources

What an American Passport Will Tell You

Passport applications are often a valuable source of genealogical information.

Some immigrants applied for passports to return home to visit family or friends. These records usually give a place of birth or at least the destination (which is often the home town)

Passports and passport applications can provide the following genealogy information:

* family, marital status
* birth place and date
* name of wife
* residence
* father's name and place of birth
* naturalization year
* name of ship, port and date of entry (after 1900)
* photograph of ancestor has many online indexes to passport applications which may help you find an elusive ancestor.

November 25, 2008

What's in a Name? I Showed you Mine, Your Turn to Show me Yours!

I've talked previously about surnames that changed (either deliberately or accidentally) over the years. This makes research into those families challenging! But what about first names?

Besides the usual nicknames (Bob=Robert, Jim=James, Cathy=Catherine) that we find as we research our ancestors, what other problems might we encounter along the path of our family tree?

How about ancestors with first names that have absolutely nothing to do with the name they were given at birth! These are people whose commonly used first name is not a derivative or nickname or anything other than some invented or pet name used by family and friends.

You can't assume that just because Grandpa was called Charlie that his actual name was Charles. Grandma might have been called Bobbie by her friends but does that mean her name at birth was Roberta? NO! Let me give you some actual examples in the family trees of my husband and myself.

My husband's grandfather was Charlie. Everyone called him that, friends and family alike. His wife called him Charlie. That was the name on their mailbox and in the local phone book. So of course we assumed his given name was Charles. But his birth registration found a few years ago showed that his actual first and middle names were Leon Thomas. How did he get the nickname Charlie? No one knows and he is no longer living to tell us. It's a family tree mystery that will likely never be solved.

My own grandmother was Dolly. As a child I assumed that was her given name but in reality her name was Ruth Ethel. When I asked her about her name she told me that when she was born she was so tiny that her mother thought she looked like a little doll. That was what her mother began calling her, and the name Dolly stuck with Grandma her whole life.

Other examples are my friend Bobbie whose brother could not pronounce her real name of Celia. He called her "baby" which sounded like "Bawby" and thus Bobbie was the name used by family and later her friends. It was many years before I learned her real name!

So don't get too stubborn about refusing to believe that the genealogy record you found for a man named Achilles is in fact your Belgium great grandfather Archie (another example from my husband's family tree) when all the facts fit! In this example, once we had the name Achilles pronounced by a native French speaker, we realized that it sounds like Aw-SHEE, which of course can easly become Archie. And thus my hubby's great grandfather Archie was indeed the man named Achilles baptised in Tielt Belgium in 1894.

Do you have examples of such names? Tell me about the names in your family tree, not common nicknames such as Jim for James, Bob for Robert, Bill for William, Cindy for Cynthia, etc., but pet names or invented names that you discovered for an elusive ancestor. Use the comment section here or write a post to your own blog to share your stories.

November 24, 2008

American Naturalization Records

Naturalization Records are important genealogical resources but they are often overlooked. They can be confusing, but the website helps to demystify those records with explanations and examples.

There are also many naturalization records transcribed and indexed and placed on website, as well as links to all known online Naturalization Records.

Naturalization Records can give you the date and place of arrival in the USA, the name of the ship, occupation, place and date of birth, names of wife and children and much more, depending on the year the naturalization took place.

Yesterday's updates to the American section of Naturalization Records includes:

* Added explanations and links to online Naturalization records for Naturalization Records Before 1906 and Naturalization Records After 1906.

* Added a page on Declaration of Intent - plus examples

* Added graphic examples of Naturalization Records in different years (1832, 1880, 1891, 1922, 1925, 1941)

* Added a Special Cases section. Wives, Minor Children, Aliens and Military applicants were all considered Special Cases.

November 22, 2008

A Blog is Just a Blog - or is it?

Becky Jamison [Mea Culpa! This should be Becky Wiseman] recently posted on her blog about Genealogy old-timers who have been blogging for several years. She missed my blog but Henk van Kampen of Trace Your Dutch Roots kindly pointed out to Becky that Olive Tree Genealogy Blog has been around since 2003.

That started me thinking about when I first started blogging, when I first heard the word "Blog" and how many blogs I have now. So I made a list, as I'm pretty sure many people don't realize how many blogs I maintain. Or try to maintain. Some, like this blog, get my full-time attention. Others are a bit more hit and miss, I post on them when I can (and wish I had more time to write more!) Some I have fun with, some I take very seriously.

My first blog was this one, Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. My first post was on February 9, 2003 on the Almshouse Records of New YOrk City 1855-1858 which I had just put online. I started that Blog after my friend Steve Johnson of Genealogy and How talked to me about blogging.

I started Olive Tree Genealogy blog as an announcement spot - somewhere to let genealogists know about all the terrific genealogy records I was transcribing and putting online. Eventually I expanded the scope to include announcements of other sites' new records, and this year I began doing some personal ramblings.

Here's a brief list of my other blogs, when I started them, and what they're all about. Most are genealogy related, but others are more personal in nature

July 2004: Started Family Bibles Blog. It was set up as a home where folks could put donated family bible records.

July 2004: Started Past Voices: Letters Home Blog. Established to take the overflow of old letters and postcards from ancestors found on my Past Voices: Letters Home website

November 2004: Started Paper Trail Blog. Established to take the overflow of old documents (birth, marriage and death certificates, land records, wills, etc) from the Paper Trail section of my website Olive Tree Extras

May 1, 2005: Started Antique Hunter Blog. This is a blog about antiques - where to find them, interesting antiques in my personal collection and information about antiques in general

May 1, 2005: Started Tea For Two Blog. My husband and I started this blog to review tea rooms and talk about all things tea. We expanded into the coffee arena too.

June 19, 2005: Started Chicken Chat Blog. This blog is written by both my husband and myself, and is our ramblings about out misadventures raising chickens, turkeys, ducks and guinea fowl. It includes humourous or informative news articles about - you guessed it - chickens!

August 6, 2008: Started Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy Blog. I love to cook and this is my cooking blog. It's just a baby but has recipes and tips for cooking, decorating a fun table, etc

I hope you check out my blogs and other blogs too. They're a great way to have fun, stay informed and find out more about that online often faceless presence!

November 21, 2008

New Collection of Newspapers From the United States and Canada

120specialoffer.gif   - Looking for your ancestors? announced new additions to its Newspaper collection. The major collection this week includes content from the United States and Canada. As part of the release, one database each from Canada and the United States will be launched each day this week. The US content will be free to access for ten days. The databases launched this week include content from 1838-2003.

United States Newspapers

* Afro American Ledger (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
* Sunday Grit (Williamsport, Pennsylvania, USA)
* Mackenzie's Gazette (New York, New York, USA)
* Philadelphia Afro American (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
* The Sporting News(St. Louis, Missouri, USA)

Canada Newspapers

* Qu'Appelle Vidette (Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada)
* Qu'Appelle Progress (Qu'Appelle Station, Saskatchewan, Canada)
* Renfrew Advance (Renfrew, Ontario, Canada)
* Renfrew Journal (Renfrew, Ontario, Canada)
* Renfrew Mercury (Renfrew, Ontario, Canada)

Search Canadian Newspapers or
Search International Newspapers

November 20, 2008

Christmas Trees by Laurel

After posting about my organization blitz yesterday, I realized I hadn't shown any photos of the beautiful Christmas Trees my sister-in-law decorates.

Click on the image below to view a few photos of Laurel's trees. I only have a few online as I have to hunt for the rest... uh-oh time to organize my photos??

Christmas Trees by Laurel

Christmas Memories

Yesterday I spent 3 hours sorting and organizing Christmas decorations. I have hundreds, probably enough to decorate 10 trees. I even have a few of the old Santa decorations from the tree we had when I was young. And every year I buy more.

That's me on the left (many years ago!) in front of a little tree. See the red Santas with the twisted legs? They were one of my favourites when I was a kid. Those long legs that could be twisted around in every direction really tickled me. Santa was tall and skinny instead of rotund, another fact I loved as a kid. I managed to save a couple of those Santas and they've gone with me through many years and many moves.

So yesterday was a lot of fun. I even found my old Christmas Eve Stocking from 1969! Each decoration I found, unwrapped and held, reminded me of something - an event from the past, a tree put up 10 years ago that looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas, a friend, a relative who gave me the ornament as a gift, or family Christmases of long ago.

I organized the ornaments by colour and by theme, because my sister-in-law comes every year to decorate two trees for us. Not with us - for us. She does a beautiful job and all I have to do is agree on a colour scheme and find the decorations for it. My husband helps her and I sit back, sip coffee and enjoy watching them. All she asks is that we try to keep the decorations somewhat organized so that her job is a bit easier. As it is, she is here for almost 8 hours decorating!

Because I love my labeller and buying storage tubs (which I've talked about before on this blog) I decided this year that the time had come. There are enough decorations not including the 40 or so new ones I just bought last week, to deserve some organization. What fun I had!

This year's tree is going to be done in sage green and ivory with burgundy as a splash of colour contrast. I can't wait to start sipping my Tim Horton's while hubby and his sister do the work. I know how impressed my sister-in-law will be with my organization, and it just might spur me on to buy even more decorations after Christmas when they go on sale.

I ended up with 3 huge tubs, one for purple, one for green, one for the neutrals (ivory, white, grey, silver and gold) and several smaller tubs - one for red decorations, one for "must put on tree each year" which are decorations from my childhood or made by my children or gifts from friends and family, one for kids decorations for their little tree, one for miscellaneous sets in assorted colours, and one labelled "winged creatures" which are birds, dragonflies, butterflies - you get the idea - anything with wings.

Then I sorted all the garlands and ribbons and so on and put them all in a tub. Next came tags and wrapping paper and ribbons for presents - that took 2 more tubs. By the time I finished, I had a total of 9 large tubs representing Christmas memories.

Now if only I had somewhere to store them....

November 19, 2008 and FamilySearch Announce Agreement to Digitize and Index Existing Canadian Censuses, Canada's leading online family history website, is pleased to announce a joint initiative with FamilySearch International, a nonprofit organization that maintains one of the world's largest repositories of genealogical resources. The joint initiative will allow the organizations to improve online access to a comprehensive collection of Canadian censuses.

As part of the agreement, FamilySearch will digitize and index Canadian census records that has acquired. These digitized and indexed records will then be made available to members on the company's website, and in time the indexes will also be available to the public at The images will be free to qualified FamilySearch members and all FamilySearch family history centers.

FamilySearch will deliver images and indexes to for censuses from 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1916 Censuses to launch online in 2009. In return, will provide images and indexes to FamilySearch for the 1851, 1891, 1901 and 1906 Censuses.

November 18, 2008

November Ancestor Most Wanted - Elizabeth Jamieson nee Shuart (Michigan & Ontario)

Elizabeth Shuart was born about 1801 in New York or New Jersey. At some time she settled in Upper Canada (present day Ontario) and married James Jamieson from Ireland.

The only confirmed census records I have found for Elizabeth is the 1851 census for Flamboro West, Wentworth County Ontario. The family consisted then of

* James Jameson, 65, b Ireland, cooper
* Elizabeth 50 b United States
* James 16 b Ontario
* Lydia 14 b Ontario (my ancestor)
* George 10 b Ontario

Elizabeth and James disappear after 1851.

George Henry Jamieson

This past year I found George Jamieson in Michigan. I discovered his middle name of Henry which fits my theory that Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson was the daughter of Henry Shuart (more on this below)

In 1870 George Jamieson is in Austin, Sanilac, Michigan and next door is his brother James Jamieson

In 1880 George is Boone, Wexford, Michigan

In 1900 and 1910 George is found in Peninsula, Grand Traverse, Michigan. In both these census records he states that his mother (Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson) was born in New Jersey. Strangley in 1920 in the same location he says she was born in England which is not correct, so quite likely someone else in the household provided the information to the census taker.

George states in census records that he immigrated to USA from Canada in 1863 or 1864 which means he should be somewhere in the 1861 census in Ontario. I have not found him.

George's death record shows the following:

George Henry Jamieson
Birth: 17 Mar 1843 - Canada
Death: 18 Sep 1929 - Peninsula, Grand Traverse, Michigan
Spouse: Emily Squire
Father James Jamieson
Mother Elizabeth Shuirit

James Jamieson Jr.

Now for the contradictions: In 1880 James Jamieson (brother of George above) is found in Chase, Lake, Michigan. He says his mother (Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson) was born in Pennsylvania.

In 1900 James is found in Amber, Mason, Michigan. Here he claims his mother's place of birth was New York.

In 1910 and 1920 James is in Ludington Ward 1, Mason, Michigan and again states that his mother was born in Pennsylvania.

James gives his year of immigration as 1860 and 1861 in various census records but I have not found him in any census for those years in either USA or Canada. I believe I have found him enlisting in the Civil War in a Michigan regiment as a Private on 14 September 1864 at the age of 26.

Lydia Jamieson Vollick

George and James' sister Lydia is my direct ancestor and she married Isaac Vollick sometime before 1858. She is found with Isaac in the 1861 census for East Flamborough Tp Wentworth County and I have a good record of their lives up to their deaths near Hillsdale, Simcoe County Ontario in 1917 (Lydia) and 1904 (Isaac)


Rumour has it that Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson remarried a Hunt after her husband James Jamieson's death. I find an Elizabeth married to a Daniel Hunt in the 1881 Census for Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada
Daniel HUNT 77 born USA Occ: Builder
Elizabeth HUNT 80 born USA

But I have no proof it is my Elizabeth and I have not yet found a death record for an Elizabeth Hunt.

I also find Daniel in the 1871 INDEX to the census for Hamilton but do not have the full record to see if he is married to Elizabeth and if there are more clues to be found there. If anyone has access to the census microfilm and look this up, here is what you need to find this record

District: HAMILTON ( 024 )
Sub-district: St. Patrick's War ( E )
Division: 2
Page: 61
Microfilm reel: C-9927

What I want to find

I want to find Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson. What happened to her after 1851? There is a $50.00 reward for anyone who can find Elizabeth after that 1851 census.

I am also interested in finding her origins. Was she, as I believe, the daughter of Henry Shuart and Rachel De Graw?

Did Elizabeth have siblings Joseph Shuart born ca 1790 who married Christina; Lydia Shuart born ca 1794 NY or Pennsylvania who married first Job Skinner and second James McGarry; Margaret Shuart born ca 1798 NY or Pennsylvania who married Adonijah Taylor; and Hiram Shuart born ca 1810 possibly in Pennsylvania who married Catherine Alice Skinner? All of these individuals settled in Ontario

Anyone who can find proof of Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson's whereabouts after 1851 can earn $50.00. Proof of her parentage or place of birth also wins $50.00.

November 15, 2008

Coincidental Genealogy - Owning a Piece of Someone's Life

Many years ago I bought a book at a local Garage Sale. Inside was the owner's name "Millicent Lynn" and a hand-written genealogy. I knew Millicent slightly, she was an elderly woman in the town where I lived in the 1970s. Millicent was a gentle lovely-looking woman who looked like Helen Hayes and always wore gloves, a dress, and carried a purse over one arm much like Queen Elizabeth. Millicent's son and grandson owned a local business in our small town.

It was through Millicent's grandson that my husband and I met some some twenty years later. My future husband worked for Millicent's grandson and when I published my first book The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelise Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk Wife Ots-To...., I was directed to his office for assistance.

After our marriage I discovered that my husband owned an antique cupboard that once belonged to Millicent. He also owned the WW1 army helmet that once belonged to Millicent's husband, and a very old black top hat inscribed inside the band with Millicent's husband's name (George Lynn).

With all these connections and treasured objects in our home, I began to feel that we owned a little piece of Millicent and George's lives, and that to complete the circle we needed to find out more about their lives and ancestors.

With that in mind I set out to find Millicent and I'm happy to say that I found her arrival in Canada from England on the Ship Metagama in 1919 as well as many other voyages back and forth between England and Ontario. Millicent arrived at St John New Brunswick on 17 February 1919. It looks like she had $50.00 on arrival, and she was headed for her mother-in-law's in Penetanguishene Ontario

This is George Lynn's WW1 helmet that is part of my husband's WW1 Collection. I also found George's WW1 Attestation Papers and many census and vital records for George, his parents, his grandparents and so on back to 1814.

Now I feel that the journey is complete and I will pass this coincidental genealogy on to Millicent's grandson.

November 14, 2008

Immigrants to Canada before 1865 now online

Library and Archives Canada has just added a new searchable database for immigration to Canada before 1865. This is an important set of records since ships passenger lists to Canada before that year did not have to be archived.

In 1803, the British Parliament enacted legislation to regulate vessels carrying emigrants to North America. The master of the vessel was required to prepare a list of passengers. Unfortunately, few such lists have survived. So we must look to other sources for the names of our ancestors arriving in Canada before 1865.

Some lists have been identified and indexed by name in the LAC database. It also includes other types of records such as declarations of aliens and names of some Irish orphans. Search Immigrants to Canada Before 1865 at LAC

Other lists of immigrants to Canada before 1865 can be found at Ships to Canada

November 13, 2008

Civil War Photo Album Fowler Merchant Families

This is one of my favourite CDVs (Cartes de Visite) from the Fowler Merchant Civil War era photo album in my personal collection. It was taken during the Civil War - if you look carefully you can see this young lady's snood - a netting worn over the hair at the back of the head. Her hair is carefully slicked down and parted in the center - another sign of 1860s women's hairstyles.

Her bolero jacket was also popular during this time. Also note the dropped shoulders, full sleeves narrowing at the wrist, and the full skirt, but loosely draped, not over a hoop.

The plain background and patterned floor are further clues to help date this photograph. You can see the full Fowler-Merchant Family Photo Album online at Lost Faces.

Surnames: Fowler, Merchant, Keach, Houghton, Lovejoy, Hewitt, Maloney, Tanner, Whitcomb, Sladden, Frazier, Comstock, Gray, Moseley, Center, Lee, Alexander, Fisher, Williams, Cottrell, Burgess

Locations: Cambridge New York, Connecticut, Washington DC

November 11, 2008

Honouring Ancestors on Remembrance Day

To honour my ancestors on Remembrance Day, here is a list of those who gave their lives in Wars:

My 3rd great-grandfather Levi Peer's brother Stephen Peer fell at the Battle of Chippewa during the War of 1812, leaving behind a pregnant wife and young son.

All of my grandmother's brothers fought in WW1. Her youngest brother, Philip Edgar Peer (called Edgar by family), died in France in 1918 just days short of his 21st birthday.

My husband's great uncles Bill and Cecil Sandercock also fought in WW1 along with their father Samuel. Both Bill and Cecil were killed, one year apart. Bill was killed Aug. 23, 1917, his brother Cecil was at his side. One year later almost to the day, on Aug. 28, 1918, Cecil was killed. A few years ago I submitted Cecil's photo to Veterans Affairs Canada to help honour his memory.

WW2 saw the death of my Uncle, James Nevin (aka Nev) Bonar. He died October 23, 1944 in Belgium at the age of 27.

Please take a few moments today to remember those brave men and women who fought and died, and those who are still fighting in Wars around the world.

November 10, 2008

When Does the Fun Start?

The word prompt for the 7th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Oh, Baby! Show us those wonderful family photographs of babies, or those you've collected. Share the ones that are too cute for words, or those only a mother could love. Your favorite of grandma or grandmas' favorite. Grandpa on a bear skin rug or grandpas' little love. Everyone has a baby photo, so let's see it!

Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that is the epitome of Oh, Baby! ...

I couldn't resist this challenge. I am the Keeper of the Photographs in our family. Every time someone passes away or moves, their boxes of old photos, albums of treasures and documents galore end up in my home for safe-keeping. I've lost track of how many old family photos and slides I have now but soon I'll need a room just for them.

I also collect old photographs (Civil War era is my favourite) and have almost 3000 CDVs (Cartes de Visite), hundreds of Cabinet Cards and tintypes. So you can imagine what choices were available to me for a cute/funny/atrocious baby picture!

It's ironic therefore that my final choice was this 1973 photo (originally a slide - remember how popular those were?) of my oldest son meeting his grandparents for the first time.

November 5, 2008

Who can Identify this Mystery Building circa 1870s?

This is a photo (a CDV or Carte de visite) of a mystery building with a crowd of men and women in front.

Some are looking out the windows of this building which is draped in bunting. A photograph of a man is placed over the front door and you can see the crush of people at the door.

My best guess is that this is a funeral, perhaps of a President, certainly of an important man.

From the type of photograph (Carte de Visite), the clothing styles, with the women in bustle dresses and hats perched atop their heads, and the men in bowlers and long coats, I estimate the date to be circa 1872-1880. However bowler hats were worn from 1850-1900 and bustles were in style from about 1860-1900 so it is difficult to narrow the timeline with certainty.

What I would like to know is

* What and where is this building?

* What is the occassion?

The only other clues I have are that this photograph was the last in an album of Cabinet Cards from Chicago Illinois photographers. Two were from Omaha Nebraska but more than 60 of the photos in the album were from Chicago. The image itself is not clear, it is rather fuzzy and faded so it is not possible to make out good details. In fact, I manipulated the colours and the sharpness of the original in order to get as clear and sharp an image as possible to post here.

Anyone care to guess what this building is and where it is?

November 4, 2008

Canadian War Dead 1914-1918 Vigil

At sunset November 4th through to sunrise November 11th, will present a vigil commemorating the 68,000 Canadians who lost their lives in WWI. The names of the 68,000 war dead will be projected over a week of nights onto the National War Memorial in Ottawa, buildings in other regions of Canada and onto the side of Canada House in Trafalgar Square in London, England.

More than 9,700 names will appear each night. Each individual name will appear only once during the seven nights. These include those killed in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Canadian Merchant Navy and the Canadian Army Medical Corps.

On you will see the Ottawa National Vigil streamed live from the National War Memorial. It will run for seven nights, starting at 5:00pm each evening. The first name appears at 5:15pm. Each night’s vigil will be 13 hours long, ending at sunrise the following day. The vigil will then recommence at 5:00pm and run another 13 hours. The last name will appear as dawn breaks on November 11th.

The vigil will commence November 4th 2008. To find the exact night and time when a specific name will appear, use the Search Names tab located at The names appearing in the vigil will have no order or ranking. Each man or woman was equal in death.

November 3, 2008

Fisk Family Photo Album online

Here is another Family Photo Album with beautiful cartes de visite and cabinet cards. This album was sent to me in February 2007 by Alfredo M. Lamparelli of New Hampshire. It is a Civil War era album in poor condition, pages are loose and only 13photos remain.

But most are labelled either on the album pages themselves or on the reverse (verso) of the photo. There are some CDVs circa 1860-1880 and some Cabinet Cards circa 1880s in the album. Mr. Lamparelli provided no information on the provenance of the album.

After some research I discovered that the album was probably owned by a child of David Fiske and Laura Severington of Massachusetts. It was probably passed on to a grandchild of David & Laura, that grandchild being the person who wrote names of individuals in the album. I deduce this because of the use of "Uncle", "Aunt", "Coz" (Cousin). I believe I have figured out who most are and how they fit into David & Laura Fiske's family tree

You can see more of my antique photo albums on Lost Faces

November 2, 2008

How an antique Illinois Family Photo Album came to Canada via New Jersey

My good friend Illya of recently sent me a gift of an antique photo album. The Album has had a rough life, and needed a good home, so Illya bid on it at a New Jersey auction, won the album and shipped it to me here in Canada.

The album has slots for 64 cabinet cards, and one tintype. 2 Cabinet Cards are missing, for a total of 63 ancestor family photos in this album. 15 of the Cabinet Card photographs were identified with writing on the album pages.

With the identification of those 15 photos and the clues from the photographers who took the photographs, I was able to find the family in the census for Chicago Illinois and determine that this album belonged to the Timmerman Family.

The Timmerman Family Photo Album is full of beautiful photographs, most taken in the period 1890 - 1910. Most of the photos were taken by photographers in Chicago Illinois - Morrison, Jaeger, Hoffman Studios, Vahlteich and others. A few were taken in Omaha Nebraska.

I wondered how a Chicago Photo Album over 100 years old ended up at a New Jersey auction, but research found that one of the Timmerman daughters (Bertha Timmerman) married a man named George Fichtner and moved from Chicago to Boontown New Jersey sometime between 1910 and 1920. No doubt the album was cared for by this daughter and her descendants for many years.

Olive Tree Genealogy has scanned several of the photos and published them online for all descendants and interested researchers to enjoy. I will be scanning all the photos and placing them all online in hopes that genealogists will recognize an ancestor. I've also written up the genealogy research I did on the Timmerman family and published it online as well. Hopefully interested descendants will enjoy this look into the family photographs of more than 100 years ago.

There are 55 other antique family photo albums (mostly from the Civil War era) online on Lost Faces on Olive Tree Genealogy website. Quality reproductions can be obtained for most of the 2,000 + photos by viewing thumbnails provided and choosing photographs of interest.