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March 17, 2018

Kiss Me, I'm Irish!

Famine Emigration
In honour of St Patrick's Day, when tradition has it that we all want to be Irish, I shout out THANK YOU to my Irish ancestors who came from Ireland to Canada. 

John Greenlees and his wife Elizabeth Johnston came from Fermanagh Ireland to the wilds of Upper Canada (present day Ontario) with three children - George about 5 years old, Thomas about 3 years old and my 2nd great grandmother Jane who was under 2 years old. The year was some time between Jane's birth in 1819 and the birth of their next child in Upper Canada in 1821. What a perilous journey that must have been!

Joseph McGinnis and his wife Frances (Fanny) Downey from Co. Down made the journey from famine stricken Ireland with their year old daughter Bridget (Delia) in 1846. They were both barely 20 years old.

It must have been a nightmare voyage and I am sure that like most of the Irish who left Ireland during the Famine Years, they and their loved ones suffered greatly at home. Joseph and Fanny arrived in Ontario and settled near family who had arrived much earlier. They were my 2nd great grandparents. They were very poor Catholics and the land they settled on was more swamp than anything else.

So - I have three Irish great-great grandparents (Joseph, Fanny and Jane) and two Irish Great great great grandparents (John & Elizabeth). Out of that mix I get four Irish surnames: Greenlees, Johnstone, McGinnis & Downey.

I hope this Irish blessing worked for them! "May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you're dead."

March 15, 2018

The Peer Family in North America: V6 Jacob Peer Jr. and his wife Lucy Powers and their Descendants to 2 Generations

The Peer family, loyal to the British Crown, suffered from persecution in New Jersey throughout the American Revolution. Jacob Peer Jr. and his wife Lucy Powers settled in the wilderness of Upper Canada (present day Ontario) after the American Revolution. After suffering losses during the War of 1812, they left Ontario for Michigan in 1821.

This book discusses the lives of Jacob, his wife, and their children in those early years.

Descendants will enjoy seeing early documents such as land petitions, family photographs, probate records and wills.

The Peer Family in North America: V6 Jacob Peer Jr. and his wife Lucy Powers and their Descendants to 2 Generations

Available on or

Note for the book on his parents you also need to purchase V. 1 Jacob & Anne Peer available at

March 14, 2018

Continuing Preserving Another Photo Album for Lost Faces

A fascinating image on the right
identified as the daughter of Oscar Knapp

Going through the newly rescued photo album for Lost Faces was my fun time over the weekend.

It's a challenge for me to go slow, document each page before I start the process of removing the pictures from their pages.

Many of the album pages had identification of the people in the photos. The names were written in a  contemporary hand, and was not period handwriting or ink from the 1860s. My hope was that once I removed the photos I might find period handwriting on the backs.

If you are wondering why I'm being so fussy it is because any identification written at the time the photos were put into the album is bound to be more accurate than identification entered many years later.

One very interesting notation was entered on the album page below. This was  in the same handwriting as the rest of the album and reads "Great Grandfather and Grandmother Ostrander". What a great clue as to when these labels were entered on the album pages!

These photos appear to be Civil War era (early to mid 1860s).  I know that one of their great-great grandchildren wrote in this album. I am theorizing that this great-great grandchild was probably born around the turn of the century and may have written in the album as an adult, say around 1930 to 1960. I'll know more when I remove the photos, check the backs, and start my research on everyone who is identified in this album.

Removing the photos is a slow and careful project. You don't want to tear the album pages or bend the photos. Often they are stuck in the slots which is not surprising after being in there over 150 years! I use a very thin, pliable plastic ruler to help ease the photos out if I can't just slide them gently with my hands. 

I can hardly wait to get at that stage of the process! 

Please see Part 1 and Part 2 for the start of this process of how I rescue, archive, and publish on Lost Faces antique photo albums I save from disappearing.

March 12, 2018

Sprague Letter 1917

Annette P. has generously donated ephemera from various families to be shared on Olive Tree Genealogy. This set is a photo of a man and a 3 page letter signed "L. P. Sprague, Dowager" and dated October 3, 1917 from Lexington, Kentucky.

The letter does not have a salutation other than "My dear ---" but in the first paragraph Ms. Sprague writes that she isn't sure whether or not to address the letter to "Miss James" or "Mary Elizabeth" so we might assume the person she is writing to is Mary Elizabeth James.

There are many names in the letter: Mrs. Sprague, Miss Curry/Carry Breckinbridge, Miss Kraft, Miss McClure.

Unknown but with Sprague Letter

March 11, 2018

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 43 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.


Letter p1

Letter p 2

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"

March 10, 2018

So Many Goodies Coming to Lost Faces Photo Albums!

Look what arrived yesterday! Yep, another rescued antique photo album! Number 81.....and yes, it will be going online on my Lost Faces website ASAP.

I can't resist these beautiful albums with identified photos inside. They're never my ancestors but I still am driven to save them from being lost and forgotten.

I finally had a chance to unpack this album today and believe me, it was hard to wait. I'm like a kid at Christmas with these gorgeous albums chock full of family memories and treasures.

It's easy to picture what the album looked like when new. It would have been gleaming, clean and shiny. Imagine the family's excitement (or more likely the wife's excitement) when she bought it to put her treasured photos in.

Just look at this beauty! I am always so anxious to get going on the photgraphs - the CDVs, cabinet cards and tintypes, but I force myself to go slow. My first step is always to document the album and the order of photos inside, with camera pictures. That can help identify any photos that do not have names on them.

So I had a sneak peek and took a few camera photos to start the process. Let me share those with you.

 first page. It is empty but the name of the person whose photo was originally there is intact. That helps put together family groups and identify the family who may have originally owned the photo album. This empty page has the inscription  And the hunt is on! I'm so curious - who was Aunt Mariah? And was her husband's name really Whittier? It is difficult to read and I'm hoping that getting further into the album will reveal if I've managed to decipher it correctly.

The next page was just as intriguing. The photo slot was empty but written on the album page was "Aunt Hattie White's child" When oh when will I get to that ingriguing photo peeking out on the right? That was all I had time for today but tomorrow I will be back at the puzzle and continue with taking my camera photos and carefully documenting the album.

Please see Part 1 and Part 2 for the start of this process of how I rescue, archive, and publish on Lost Faces antique photo albums I save from disappearing.

March 9, 2018

Library of Trinity College in Dublin

There are so many amazing genealogical and research websites out there, and more surfacing all the time. As wonderful as that is for us genealogists, it also becomes challenging to find out about all of them.

I recently became aware of this wonderful site's collection of genealogical materials. The Library of Trinity College Dublin will undertake limited genealogy research.

Some of their digitized records consist of School Entrance records 1637-1961

Be sure to also see my article Irish Lands Stolen By Oliver Cromwell

Do yourself a favour and check out the site if you have ancestors who might have been in the area.