September 28, 2016

The Sculptor Who Created Facial Masks for WW1 Disfigured Soldiers

Anna Coleman Ladd was a sculptor from Philadelphia, living in Manchester, Massachusetts who devoted herself to helping disfigured WW1 soldiers. Working from a cast of the individual's face, Anna created a lifelike mask which the solider could wear in public.

Reading about this made me think of Boardwalk Empire and Richard Harrow who wore a tin maks over half his face due to disfigurement during WW1. 

Read about this amazing woman and her work at Anna Coleman Ladd- American sculptor who devoted her time throughout WWI to soldiers, who were disfigured

You can also review her documents and papers at Anna Coleman Ladd papers, circa 1881-1950 

Image credit: American Red Cross Studio for Portrait-Masks File: Scrapbook 1914-1933. Box 2, Folder 70 on Archives of American Art

September 26, 2016

Irish Civil Records FREE online!

Irish Civil Records are now searchable online at Irish Genealogy. And they're free!

The site explains that
The Civil Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths are the official State records of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Ireland. The registers of births, marriages and deaths and the related indexes are maintained by the Registrar General in the General Register Office. The Index books can be viewed at the General Register Office, Werburgh Street, Dublin 2.
The General Register Office (Oifig An Ard-Chláraitheora) is the central civil repository for records relating to births, stillbirths, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships and adoptions in Ireland.
The Indexes to the Civil Records of Irish Births, Deaths and Marriages date from 1864 with non-Roman Catholic Marriages recorded from 1845. The indexes to Births over 100 years old, the indexes to Marriages over 75 years old and the indexes to Deaths over 50 years old.

Many of the records have been digitized and are available online. 

       Search the Irish Civil Records

September 25, 2016

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 50 R Winter Mess

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.
Winter Mess

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 her permission.

Each image has been designated an "R" for Recto or a "V" for Verso plus an album page number. Recto is the right­hand side page of a bound book while Verso is the left­hand 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"

September 24, 2016

Our Immigrant Ancestor: Christian Barentsen Van Horn

There is a lot of discussion about immigration in America right now. Tempers have flared, and different groups hold various strong opinions. There is also Brexit, where immigration was a large focus of the recent vote which resulted in the U.K. leaving the E.U.

I've been following this for several months and it occurs to me that those of us in Canada, America, and Australia have immigrant ancestors. Have you researched yours? Do you know who they were, why they came to your country and when? Do you know how they fared once settled in their new land? Were they welcomed? Were they shunned? Was their discrimination based on their religion or ethnic origin? These are all questions that are important, and interesting to discover. With that in mind, I'm the dedicating Saturdays (as many as needed) as the day to join me in discussing your immigrant ancestors.

You will be able to read any you are interested in by using the keyword Immigrant Ancestors. I'm going to share each week what I know of my immigrant ancestors to North America (whether that is USA or Canada)

My 9th great-grandfather Christian Barentsen Van Horn was in New Amsterdam (present day New York City) by 1653. In 1655 he was among the Dutch who sailed with Peter Stuyvesant from New Amsterdam to the South River, the Dutch name for the Delaware, and captured the Swedish settlements there.

Christiaen Barents, or Barentsen, a carpenter, came from Hoorn, in North Holland. with his wife, Jannetje Jans, and one child, it is supposed, in or perhaps previous to the year 1653. On August 3, of that year, he had a child, Cornelis, baptized in the New Amsterdam Dutch Reformed church. Another son, Jan, was baptized in the same church, March 18, 1657.

In 1657 Christian began selling the property he had acquired in New Amsterdam. Christaen Barentzen was admitted, April 17, 1657, to the Small Burgher right of New Amsterdam. He bought a plot of ground, February 17, 1654, on the west side of Broadway, opposite Wall street. Christiaen sold the premises, or a part thereof, Nov. 17, 1657, to Cornelis Pluvier, for 1616 guilders 13 stivers in cash, and a mortgage for 1233 guilders 7 stivers, or about $1,140.

In 1658 he, with others, were building a mill near the present Wilmington, Delaware. His sales of land, November 17, 1657, and May 30, 1658, were probably with a view to settling permanently on the Delaware, whither he appears to have removed in the latter year, and presently we find him engaged in building a mill in the City of Amsterdam's unhappy Colony of Nieuw Amstel. Before he could complete the work he was seized with the fatal malady which swept through the settlement that summer, and from which he died July 26, 1658.

Jacob Alrichs, Vice Director of the Colony, sent word of the death to the Orphan Masters at New Amsterdam, with an inventory of the estate, and the request that his widow might be assisted. A petition presented by her to the Director-General and Council in relation to the estate of her deceased husband was by them referred to the Orphan Masters, the order bearing date the day of her second marriage.

On 12 Dec. 1658 in New Amsterdam, Jannetje married Laurens Andriessen Van Buskirk. For the next year or more, Laurens and Jannetje attempted to secure a final settlement of Christian Barentsen's South River estate without full success. Soon the Van Buskirks, and her Van Horn sons, moved Ito New Jersey where in 1662 Laurens purchased land on Bergen Neck, south of the present Jersey City.

September 23, 2016

You Never Know What Lies Buried Under a Broken Toilet in Italy

An Italian man's work on a broken toilet led to an amazing historical find.

Digging a trench he found a subterranean world tracing back before the birth of Jesus: a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar.

See the New York Times storie Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet

September 21, 2016

WikiTree Announces Source-a-Thon

Genealogy community donates $3,000+ in prizes to support sourced genealogy

September 7, 2016: WikiTree will be kicking off Family History Month with a three-day sourcing marathon, October 1-3, 2016. Individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are coming together to support this event by donating door prizes for participants. Over $3,000 in genealogy prizes have already been pledged.

Citing sources is required on WikiTree’s collaborative, free family tree, but inexperienced genealogists don't always record them. As Mags Gaulden, a WikiTree leader, states, “In a perfect world all genealogies would be well-sourced, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. We have all run across online genealogies that are just repeats, copy-and-pastes, of what someone else had thrown up based on what aunt Mabel told them back in the 70s.”

Second-hand family information deserves to be preserved and shared, but it needs to be verified. Generous genealogists in the WikiTree community help each other every day by confirming the information in unsourced profiles and adding citations. 200,000 profiles on WikiTree's 12-million person tree are currently identified as needing independent verification. The Source-a-Thon is a major community event to slash that number, draw attention to the importance of sources, and to have fun doing it.

Live chats will be hosted every few hours during the three-day event for participants to cheer each other on. During the chats, random winners will be drawn for valuable prizes including full memberships at MyHeritage, FindMyPast, Ancestry, Fold3,, and GenealogyBank, DNA tests from Family Tree DNA, conference passes for RootsTech, software, books, gift certificates, t-shirts, research assistance, and much more.

To be eligible for door prizes, participants must register in advance and get a “race number.” See

Prize donations will be accepted until race day. Contact if you would like to support the Source-a-Thon with a donation for participants.

WikiTree: The Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See

September 20, 2016

170 Years Without a Museum - Until Now!

Barrie Ontario (Canada) is 170 years old and it has never had a museum. Until now. Tomorrow, September 21, 2016 marks the launch of an online museum by the Barrie Historical Archive (BHA)

Help celebrate the launch of Barrie’s online museum with the Mayors’ Seat Reception on Wednesday Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m. at the City Hall Rotunda.

This one-night only reception will give you the opportunity to rub shoulders with Barrie’s former city mayors and explore some other historical exhibits including the screening of 75 year-old ultra-rare footage from Barrie’s past. Tickets are free but you need to get on the guest list to attend. To register for the reception go to

September 19, 2016

Ohio Mystery of the Wandering Tombstone

I love stories like this! What a great mystery in Ohio.

A Copley Township landowner recently discovered a 19th century headstone buried in underbrush on land that has belonged to his family for at least 60 years. The marble slab is for Akron businessman William D. Stevens (1819-1886).

The mystery is that Mr. Stevens is buried in a family plot at Glendale in Akron Ohio, and this is confirmed by cemetery records. So how and why did his tombstone end up on a stranger's land? Mr. Steven's body there too?

Continue reading at Local history: Unearthed Copley headstone is mystery beyond grave

Image: Screenshot from Akron Beacon Journal website