March 29, 2017

Looking for Grave of King Henry I

An archaeological project is trying to find the tomb of King Henry I (1068-1135), son of William the Conqueror. Radar technology has found some intriguing evidence at Reading Abbey Quarter which was a monastery that was destroyed during Henry VIII's reign.

It is known that King Henry was buried at this monastery in January 1136 after his death in Normandy. The monastery is closed to the public for the dig but is expected to re-open in 2018. It will be very interesting to see what has been found when the results are made public. 

Read the following stories for more details:

MoJ plans to dig for Henry I's remains at Reading Prison

Graves discovered in King Henry I dig
Search Is On for King Henry I, Who May Be Buried Under a Parking Lot

March 27, 2017

Share and Share Alike

A blog post by Judy G. Russell on her blog The Legal Genealogist was published in July 2016. Judy's words are important and her post should be read by all genealogists.

The expectation of some genealogists that we must share all research that we do, is something we will all be faced with at some point.  I call that the GIFS (Genealogy is For Sharing) mentality.

In fact it is not incumbent on us to share anything we don't choose to share. My belief is that those who expect or demand full sharing haven't thought about the reasons why an individual may not choose to share their research or a document or a family photograph.

Sometimes I share, sometimes I do not. Why do I not share all the time?

1. Because sometimes I choose to write a book about  my findings. This allows me to spread the information further afield than just one person, and also gives me a small portion of money back against what I spent in time, obtaining documents, travel expenses and so on.

2. Because I have seen my careful, methodical research taken and mixed in with incorrect information, causing a horrific genealogy mess that gets published in an online tree or passed via email to others. In other words, I lose control of the quality of the work I did.

Other times I will gladly share all my research with an interested descendant. It depends on the interaction I have with that person, how willing they are to share in return and what they plan to do with the documents and photos.

I have other reasons for sharing/not sharing but let's hear from you on how you feel about this topic. Meantime please take a few minutes to read Judy's blog post No Right to Sharing

March 26, 2017

Canadian Expeditionary Force, CEF, Constance Philip's WW1 Album, Digital Preservation, Nursing Sister WW1 Photos, Nursing Sisters, WW1 Photo Album Archive 61R

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.

2 Matrons, 70 Nurses, & 8 doctors on board Zeeland. 
March 17th 1915. 
No fear of torpedoes here!

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 25, 2017

Noah Wyle on Who Do You Think You Are?

On this Sunday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, actor Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his mother's family line, searching for answers to a lifelong question about his family’s participation in the Civil War. 

He discovers an ancestor who was catapulted into one of the bloodiest battles of the time, and whose life spiraled out of control from remarkable success to a shocking and tragic end.

Catch a sneak peek of Noah's episode

Next week’s episode follows actress Jessica Biel

Image Credit: TLC

Rescued Photo Album 1930s Carillon Quebec page 2

This is page 2 of the rescued Flynn family photo album.

The page is dated 1924 but there is no other identifying information. 


March 24, 2017

March Update WW1 Service Files Canadian Soldiers

Sample from PDF file for James Cecil Sandercock, KIA
Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel Service Files – Update of March 2017

The following press release came into Olive Tree Genealogy's mailbox:

As of March 15, 416,749 of 640,000 files are available online in our Personnel Records of the First World War database. Please visit the Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Files page for more details on the digitization project.

Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order. Please note that over the years, the content of some boxes has had to be moved and, you might find that the file you want, with a surname that is supposed to have been digitized, is now located in another box that has not yet been digitized. So far, we have digitized the following files:
  • Latest box digitized: Box 7059 and last name McLelland.

March 22, 2017

Mother's Adventures Part 1 Australia at Age 80

As mentioned in a previous blog post, my mother was an adventurer. At the age of 80 she made a decision to backpack through Australia. On her own. I had set her up on a computer when she was in her late 70s, and showed her how to email and look around on websites for genealogy information. She enjoyed doing this and often spoke to me about how much fun it was to "smurf" the 'net. Yes that's what she called it - smurfing the 'net.

Mother (3rd from right) in Australia waiting for her hot air balloon ride
We had relatives in Australia and Mother met new people through her mailing lists and genealogy forums. This spurred her to wanting to go to Australia to meet some of them. Her final push to go was when she asked me to book a hot air balloon ride for her for her 80th birthday. I wasn't able to do that and so she decided her gift to herself would be the trip to Australia where she'd find that hot air balloon ride she wanted.

To get ready for the trip, mother purchased a pink Barbie backpack - one made for children. She was only 5'1" tall so a child's pack fit her perfectly. Next came Tilly clothing - 2 sets, plus a Tilly hat. Adding socks and underwear, a few toiletries, and an extra pair of shoes, mother declared herself ready. She fit everything she needed into that backpack and booked her trip.

Here are her own words from her trip journal with some editing for brevity:

As my 80th birthday was only a year away I thought it wise to go somewhere that I knew for the first trip alone.  I could then branch out with confidence. My first trip was on a tour for 20 days to Australia and New Zealand.  I flew from Toronto to Vancouver then to Hawaii, then to New Zealand.  I had been in touch with a cousin who lived  near Wellington and she and her husband were going to come to the hotel on the evening of our return from the North end of the island to compare our notes on our Family Tree.  It was a lovely visit and we each found things to add to our respective family trees. It was exciting  to finally meet the family I had found through research in New Zealand. 

I had no idea when I started researching  the Stead family that some of them had emigrated to New Zealand as well as Australia.  I had been in touch with the ones in Australia for some years as one of the relatives had made a trip to Canada sometime in 1950.  I only met him once for a few minutes and did not remember him.  One of my mother’s brothers emigrated to Australia and the rest  of the family came to Canada.

I enjoyed New Zealand the only thing that I didn’t enjoy was the rain, it rained 10 out of the 21 days we spent there.  If you are going on a tour by yourself you can ask to be teamed up with another  person who is alone and hope you get a partner who is compatible.  This time I was not very lucky as she was discontented and surly.  This lady had only booked for two weeks instead of three so I had a week by myself.  I was glad because we did not get along.  It was the only time I had a problem with partners  on my trips. It could have spoilt [sic] the last two weeks as she did not speak to me unless she had to.  

After we saw all the sights on the north island we boarded the boat for the south island which was completely different to the north  even the climate was different.  It was colder and there were mountains which we did not see in the other part. We went right down to the end and the mountains were quite high there.  There was snow on the top of them and the last night there was quite cold.  I really did not expect it to be so cold.   I was sick and had to call the leader about 10:00 at night and get a doctor to come out and see me.  This was the only time in all my travels that this happened.  I ended up with a throat infection and had to keep by myself as much as possible.  No one else got sick thank goodness and in a day or two I was fine.

We went back up to Wellington and took the flight to Sydney to finish this tour. By the time we got to Sydney I was fine.  We had a tour of Sydneys water front, saw the new opera house and other things of interest  there. .  My cousin met me there and took me home with him.  I added some more time to my trip and changed my flight to come back home as I wanted to ride the train across country to Perth on the Pacific Ocean.

I booked the train ride and Frank, my cousin, drove me to Sydney when the time came to leave for the West Coast.  He  got  on and was very impressed by the accommodation.  I had a room by myself with a bed and a cabinet holding a toilet and wash basin so that I could get a wash in the morning if I did not want to go out to the shower room in the morning.  There was also a little seat so I did not have to go out of my room unless I wanted to. 

I was sitting on the stool the first morning and a lady came walking along and asked if I was alone.  I said I was and she came in and sat down and we introduced ourselves and decided to go to breakfast together.  She was wonderful company and we spent the rest of the journey together..  We had a wonderful trip and we still correspond.  

We got to a little place called Kilgori just on the edge of the last state which to find that the railway employees were on strike and we could go no further until it was settled.  We had two days  in this little backwater of a town before we could go on.  People who booked trips on the west coast were put on buses and rode all  night to catch their tours and the rest of us stayed on the train until the strike was over.  We had a great time on the train waiting to go on.  We really got to know each other and the train personnel very well. be continued

March 20, 2017

A Lost Village of Freed Slaves

In the late 1800s a small village of freed slaves began on the outskirts of Cambridge Massachusetts. Not much is known of this community which apparently was called Lewisville. The authors of a new book on the history and settlement of Cambridge discovered records of the village accidentally when studying an 1870 map.

Typical slave cabin
According to the authors, Lewisville was an "African-American settlement that dispersed before the Civil War, where many members went to Africa in the African immigration movement. But it really disappeared in the 1880s."

Read more at In tracing Cambridge history, researchers uncover lost village of freed slaves

Because I was curious about who had lived there, I searched the 1870 census and found 201 black individuals listed as living in Ward 2 of Cambridge. I cannot say with certainty that these were families in Lewisville but I plan on doing more research to see what I can find out.

The Summer 2013 Newsletter of the Cambridge Historical Society has this small excerpt which may provide some clues as to the origin of the community's name:

Just east of Observatory Hill was a free, self-sufficient African American community, known as Lewisville, from the beginning of the 19th century. This settlement was roughly between Concord Avenue, Garden Street, and Shepard Street. Some of the residents were the descendants of slaves of the Vassall family, and by the middle of the 19th century, some had become political. In the early 1850s, Adam Lewis joined the abolitionist colony at Dawn, Ontario, and in 1858 Enoch Lewis led a group of 23 members of the Cambridge Liberian Emigrant Association to settle in St. Paul’s River in Liberia.
In 1850 and 1855 he is found in Ward 1 with other black famiies.

The Dawn Settlement, founded in 1841, was a rural community where Blacks could pool their labour, resources and skills to help each other and incoming settlers. It contained farm land, a saw mill, gristmill, brick yard, rope manufactory and school.  Adam Lewis, age 31, is found in this settlement in the 1851 census of Upper Canada (present day Ontario) with his wife Mary and 6 year old daughter Frances.

Adam's death certificate of 1900 indicates his place of birth as Missouri and it is possible that more information could be found if anyone were interested.