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May 21, 2017

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 44R Letter

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.
Letter from G. H. Wilkinson
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"

May 20, 2017

Rescue Photo Album Carillon Quebec page 10

This page is labelled "Carillon 1931" The photo on the left is labelled "Mrs. A. Pope" but it is not clear if this relates to all three photos or not.


May 19, 2017

What's in a Name?

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.

May 18, 2017

Book Review: The Spyglass File

If you like genealogy and mysteries, you will enjoy Nathan Dylan Goodwin's The Spyglass File

Forensic genealogist Morton Farrier reluctantly takes on a case involving a woman born in World War 2 England who is searching for her biological parents.

What follows are numerous twists and turns, multiple story lines and in general enough mysterious happenings to keep the reader guessing and on the edge of his/her seat throughout the entire book. 

Goodwin combines thorough genealogy research techniques and various online sites to satisfy any genealogist. As well the historical aspects of the book are well-researched and satisfyingly detailed.

All in all a good read from this author. 


May 17, 2017

Got New Jersey Ancestors?


I wonder how many genealogists know about the many New Jersey records online at Olive Tree Genealogy and Ancestors At Rest

If you are looking for your New Jersey ancestors you might want to check these out:

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 Coffin Plates

Find Death Records on Ancestors at RestHenry Wesp 1875~1904
Find Death Records on Ancestors at RestJohn Frederick Seugling 1831~1894 Little Falls, New Jersey

New Jersey Family Bibles

Find Death Records on Ancestors at RestPridaux & Greville Family Bible (New Jersey)
Find Death Records on Ancestors at RestWoodhull Family Bible 1793 - New Jersey

New Jersey Funeral Cards

Find Death Records on Ancestors at RestFuneralCard for President James A. Garfield Died at Elberon, New Jersey 1881
Find Death Records on Ancestors at RestMemorial Card for Henry K. Garrison, died 1924 Centerton, New Jersey
Find Death Records on Ancestors at RestFuneral & Mourning Card of August M. Schimpff 1877 - 1892 found in Dover NJ


New Jersey Family Trees

* New Jersey Pier Family
* New Jersey Post Family

Image credit: FamilySearch.org 

May 15, 2017

Lizzie the Black Sheep of the Vollick Family

Lizzie, the blacksheep of the Vollick family, was known as rebellious and stubborn. Her birth in 1863 was uneventful. There was no indication that her nature would prove to be much less compliant than her ten brothers and sisters.

Baptised as Mary Elizabeth to parents Isaac and Lydia Vollick, little Lizzie grew up in a bit of a rough and tumble, yet loving, family. What led her on her path to her eventual death of starvation at the age of 51 with only her 17 year old son at her side?

We might look at her involvement at the age of 15 with Stephen Peer who was a drifter some 10 years her senior. Stephen was considered a no-good drifter by Lizzie's parents and they did their best to keep the two apart. It did no good and a few months after her 16th birthday she eloped with Stephen. That was the start of Lizzie's downfall. Her family disowned her and her parents never spoke to her again.

June 5, 1895
Stephen couldn't hold a job and over the next several years he and Lizzie moved from town to town. By the time Lizzie hit her 33rd birthday, she had brought 9 children into the world. Stephen took whatever work he could find but the family lived in poverty. Not many details are known of their life for the first 17 years of their marriage but in June 1895 Lizzie's husband Stephen was attacked by a neighbour and the neighbour's son, struck repeatedly in the head with an axe and ended up in the local hospital with a serious skull fracture. He was not expected to live but managed to pull through.

A court case followed but Stephen could not attend due to his injuries. As it turned out, the attack began over an ongoing argument over the use of a water pump on the property where Stephen rented a small house. When the neighbour, a Mr. Hyde, tried to get water that hot summer day, Stephen attacked and punched him. At that point Hyde's son ran out of his house with an axe and the two men beat Stephen using the axe and their fists.

Two years later, Stephen died of Typhoid Fever, leaving 34 year old Lizzie an impoverished widow with 9 children between the ages of 1 and 11 years old. The family was so poor that Lizzie could not afford to bury Stephen so the city stepped in to assist her financially.

The brief notice in the local newspaper stated
Oct. 28, 1897
        Levi [sic] Peer died at General Hospital on Wednesday afternoon from typhoid fever.  Leaves a wife and nine children in destitute circumstances.  City relief officer made arrangements for burial and attended to needs of family.  Trinity Baptist church also assisting.  (article from Guelph Herald.)
Besides the tragedy of losing her husband and being left in such destitute circumstances, what has always struck me is how the newspaper did not even get her husband's name right. We know this is the correct death notice for Stephen as his death certificate confirms the dates. It may be that his middle name was Levi in honour of his father, and perhaps he was known by that name.

My grandmother was the oldest child when her father died - being just 11 years of age. I knew her quite well, as she lived until I was 15 years old. She never spoke of her parents, nor of the hardships she undoubtedly suffered after her father's death.

Mary Elizabeth Peer's grave
But back to Lizzie. One by one her children married and moved away. Eventually she was left with only her youngest boy Philip Edgar. When he was just 17, Lizzie died, leaving him an orphan. She was just 51 and died of starvation.

Shortly after her death in May 1914, young Philip Edgar joined his older brothers in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, fighting overseas in World War 1. He was killed in France shortly before his 21st birthday, bringing to an end the story of Lizzie and her life. I am glad she didn't live to see her boy die. But she certainly had a traumatic ride through life.


May 14, 2017

6 Generations of Mothers on Mother's Day

Six Generations of Strong Females on International Women's Day 
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers past and present. The collage above shows 6 unbroken generations of my female lineage - from one mother to the next.

Starting from the left we have Sarah Stead, my great-great grandmother. Next is Sarah's daughter Sarah Simpson, my great grandmother. Then we have Sarah Simpson's daughter Ruth Fuller, my grandmother. Then comes Ruth's daughter Joan, my mother. Then me and then my daughter Judy. Then our direct maternal line is done as my daughter had sons but no daughters.

These 6 mothers had a total of 24 children. Sarah Elvery Stead died at the age of 31 and of her 6 children, only 4 lived to be raised by step-mothers. Sarah Jane Stead Simpson lived to a good age of 89 and raised 6 children. My grandmother always spoke of her mother with love and affection. My grandmother Ruth Simpson Fuller had 3 children and lived to be 90 years old. Then my mother Joan had 4 children and lived to ripe old age of 93!

My mother was an interesting character with an adventurous spirit. If it were later in the day I'd raise a glass to all the mothers who went before me but because it's early morning I'll just take a few moments of silent thank you to all of them.