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August 14, 2017

Irish Catholic Church Records Coming Soon!

Good news for those of us searching their Irish Catholic ancestors! The National Library of Ireland has announced that it will give free online access to its archive of Catholic Church records, the earliest of which dates back to the 1700s.

They cover 1,091 parishes throughout Ireland and are mainly baptismal and marriage records.  This new project adds to the over 2.5 million images of Irish births, deaths and marriage records from the General Register Office (GRO),  released online in September 2015. The earlier set of records is available on www.irishgenealogy.ie The records cover births from 1864 to 1915, marriages from 1882 to 1940 and deaths from 1891 to 1965.

Read the full story at All of Ireland’s Catholic Church records to go online

August 13, 2017

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 58V

58V Newspaper clipping with photo. "Canadian Nurses in England are going to front". Photo- "Sisters Smellie and Philip". The figures in the background are indicated as "S. Armstrong S. Wishart

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"


August 11, 2017

Bodies of Swiss Couple Found on Glacier After 75 years

Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin went to milk their cows in a meadow above Chandolin in the Valais canton on August 15, 1942. They left their seven children back at home, expecting to return in a few hours. They never came back.

Their youngest child was 4 years old and it was the first time Francine had gone with her husband. In the past she'd either been pregnant or with a child too young to be left with older siblings.

Searches failed and eventually were called off. The children were farmed out to various relatives and never knew what had happened to their parents.

75 years later, a shrinking glacier revealed the bodies of a man and woman lying near each other, perfectly preserved in ice. Identity papers proved who they were - Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin. Authorities believe they fell into a crevasse and were hidden for decades until melting snow and ice revealed their bodies.

Read the full story at Bodies of Swiss couple found on glacier 75 years after they went missing

Do You Have New Netherland (NY) Ancestors?

If you have New Netherland ancestors, come join us on the New Netherland Settlers Facebook group.

On September 19, 1609, the East India Company ship Halve Maen, commanded by Henry Hudson, an Englishman working for Dutch businessmen who were seeking a passage to the Orient, reached the present-day Albany New York area. 

It was not until 1624 that the first colonists arrived in New Netherland (now New York) to settle at Fort Orange (present day Albany), the mouth of the Connecticut River, and High Island (Burlington Island) in the Delaware River. 

English colonists were in Virginia and Plymouth, and England was claiming the northeastern Atlantic Coast. They both laid claim to Long Island, where the Dutch took hold of the western end and, later, the English settled on the eastern end. 

(Source: http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/nn/overview.shtml )

August 9, 2017

Mary Facey Elgie Photo Album p 5





A nice photo identified as "Grandpa Facey (Samuel Facey), Mrs. Henry Haves, Mrs Haves (Granny) and Grandma Facey (Margaret Wilford)" 

Redigon Facey, a daughter of Samuel Facey and Margaret Wilford, married Robert Haves and this could be the connection.


This photo is labelled as Jennie Mary (Rennie?) and Margaret Wilford Facey


Search the Free UK Census Records

Announcement from FreeCen:

FreeCEN offers a free-to-search online database of the 19th century UK censuses. Transcribed entirely by volunteers, we have more than 32 million individuals available on our website that anyone can search without having to create an account. The new ‘FreeCEN2’ website (https://freecen2.freecen.org.uk) will launch on Monday 31st July 2017 with all of the records that the current website holds, but with a fresh new look and feel in-line with Free UK Genealogy and FreeREG. 

FreeCEN, FreeREG and FreeBMD are projects by Free UK Genealogy, a registered charity that promotes free access to historical records. FreeREG underwent this process in 2015, and FreeBMD is due to begin its renewal later this year.  

August 7, 2017

Newly Discovered Diary Describes Halifax Explosion


Dec. 6, 1917. Royal Navy sailor Frank Baker wrote in his diary

"We...had just drawn soap and powder and the necessary utensils for cleaning paint work,” he wrote, “when the most awful explosion I ever heard or want to hear again occurred.”

What Baker heard was the largest explosion since before the Atomic Bomb. Sailors 150 miles out to sea heard the blast. On land, people felt the jolt 300 miles away. The shock wave demolished almost everything within a half-mile.


An outbound Belgian ship, the Imo, collided with an inbound French freighter, the Mont-Blanc. The freighter carried 2,925 tons of high explosives, including 246 tons of benzol, a highly flammable motor fuel, in drums lashed to its deck.

Passersby stopped to watch the fire but when the explosion occurred the town of Halifax was devastated. There were 2000 known fatalities and over 9000 people were injured.


Baker's diary is now in an exhibit in the Dartmouth Heritage Musuem. Read the entire diary on the Smithsonian 

August 6, 2017

Nursing Sister Phiips WW1 Photo Album 66 R


66R 2-2 Doctors C.A.M.C. leaving Netheravon for France

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.  

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.

Don't Miss Out! Ancestry DNA kits 30% off!

Great news! if you've longed to take a DNA test, or buy some test kits for your relatives so you can figure out that challenging family tree puzzle, now's the time!

Ancestry DNA is 30% off! Starting Sunday, August 6th until Tuesday, August 15th.

I'm stocking up to send some kits to cousins and other assorted relatives. I'll also keep some on hand to offer to descendants of John and Mary McGinnis from Ireland to try to firm up my relationship to that couple.

Read more about DNA discoveries I've already made at DNA Genealogy


August 5, 2017

Genealogists Heads Up re Proposed Bylaw: No Photographs in Cemetery!

Thanks to Murray Pletsch for bringing this to our attention. Polite action is called for - tell them NO!

Cause for Concern...

It has come to our attention that the City of Waterloo in Ontario Canada is considering
implementing a bylaw that would ban photography at all municipal cemeteries.

The proposed bylaw: "Photography: No person shall cause or permit the taking
of any photographic or video imaging within any Cemetery except with the
prior permission of the Manager."


This would mean that as of September 1st, no one would be allowed to take
photographs or video in any municipally owned cemetery operated by the City
of Waterloo without prior permission.

In other words, you could not take a photograph or video of a headstone you
own without prior permission. Or a photograph / video of a loved ones
headstone. Or request that someone take a photograph / video on your behalf
without prior permission. The bylaw does not provide guidelines for granting
or denying permission, only that the manager would decide.

Approval of this bylaw would also set a precedent for other municipalities
in Ontario to follow.

It would have a major impact on genealogy, and not just in terms of projects
like ours (think of the number of cemetery photographs you currently use in
your personal genealogy research!)

There are also multiple businesses and organizations that use cemetery
photographs, including the government.

Luckily there is time to stop this bylaw from being approved, and your help
is need to make this happen.

The bylaw changes were submitted to The Bereavement Authority of Ontario for
approval. The BAO are the ones who ultimately decide if cemetery bylaws will
be approved.

Before September 1st, please take a moment and send them a polite written
message to let them know what you think about this bylaw and how it would
impact you personally.

Bereavement Authority of Ontario
Email: info@thebao.ca
Telephone: 647-483-2645
Toll Free: 844-493-6356
Fax: 647-748-2645
Mail: Bereavement Authority of Ontario, 100 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 505,
Toronto, ON M2N 6N5

Need more info? The cemetery bylaws were discussed by the City of Waterloo
Council at their July 24th meeting. A copy of the agenda can be read here:
http://www.waterloo.ca/en/calendar/council/Details.aspx?Id=d11b5d9f-7c1a-4326-9fde-8369970131fa

The proposed cemetery bylaws are on pages 101-177, the clause regarding
photography is on page 113.

101 Best Genealogy Sites from Family Tree Magazine

Olive Tree Genealogy is very excited and honored to be chosen as one of Family Tree Magazine's Top 101 Genealogy sites for 2017.

Olive Tree Genealogy was chosen in the category Big Genealogy Websites along with FamilySearch, Heritage Quest, Access Genealogy, Library of Congress, NARA, Rootsweb and US GenWeb. Wow! I'm super thrilled to be in such esteemed company!




This is what Family Tree Magazine said about my site:


Each year, Family Tree Magazine publishes the 101 Best Websites for family history to guide genealogists to the top websites where they can make family history research progress, and to honor the individuals and organizations who create those sites. This year, they focused on websites that provide genealogy information and records free to researchers.

The full list of 101 Best Websites, including my site, can also be found at http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/best-big-genealogy-websites-2017

August 4, 2017

Update of Canadian WW1 Personnel Files Online

Attestation Papers WW1 CEF
The Canadian Expeditionary Force WW1 database has been updated and now includes full files of soldiers up to Box 7834 and last name Pilkey.

To date 461,575 of 640,000 files are available online for researchers to freely use.

August 2, 2017

Mary Facey Elgie Photo Album p 4

This photo is labelled "taken 1914" and the individuals are identified as "Fred & Annie (Facey) Rogers at Grandpa Facey's Farm"  The reference to Grandpa Facey refers to Samuel Facey (1857-1930), my mother-in-law's grandfather.



This photo is of my husband's great-grandparents Mary and William Elgie, and their daughters Florence (1914-1996), Annie (1912-1979) and Luella (1917-2009). Luella was my husband's grandmother. Annie married Robert Bragg and she was the mother of Roberta who passed this family treasure trove on to my husband's mother. The box was found in Florence's home after she died in 1996.