December 7, 2016

Holocaust Jacket Leads to Life Story of Ben Peres

 A woman hunting for bargains at a tag sale on July 4, 2015, found a blue and grey striped jacket hanging in the back of an upstairs bedroom closet.

She immediately recognized it as a jacket worn by a prisoner at the Nazi Dachau concentration camp during World War II. The number 84679 on the front of the jacket confirmed that it had indeed been worn during the Holocaust.

After purchasing the jacket she donated it to the Kuperferberg Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College, where it is the centerpiece of an exhibit about the life of the man who wore it,  Benzion Peresecki — who was rescued from Dachau Concentration Camp and later came to America and became Ben Peres.

The jacket is a piece of history and allows the story of Mr. Peres to be shared with the world. Read the full story at  Holocaust jacket found at tag sale leads to a life story

December 5, 2016

70 Year Mystery of Missing US Airmen Solved

On 27th November  1945 a C-47 Aircraft carrying U.S. Airmen Judson Baskett, a Flight Officer, William Myers, a First Lieutenant, and Donald Jones, a First Class Private, left Singapore for Penang. It was never seen again and the fate of the three men remained a mystery.

Twenty years after their disappearance the wreckage of an airplane was supposedly spotted in the Malay Peninsula but no followup was conducted. In 1985 hikers stumbled on the wreckage.

Finally in 2009 the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was notified of the sighting and in 2015 the remains of the crew were flown to America for forensic testing. 

Read the full story Mystery of Three US Airmen Who Vanished in Malayan Jungle Finally Solved after 70 Years

December 4, 2016

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 39V No 2 Canadian General Hospital

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"

December 3, 2016

Meme: Immigrant Ancestor Frances Holford Higginson

Frances Holford Higginson was born 28 May 1769 in Lower Peover, Cheshire England along with her twin sister Sarah Holford. Not much is know about Frances' life - her parents  John Holford and Ann Harrison were from Devanham Cheshire but settled in Lower Poever shortly after their marriage. In 1787 at the age of 18, young Frances married Thomas Higginson, a tax collector and wheelwright in Lower Peover. Over the next 15 years the couple had 8 children born in the town. 
I really like that both Thomas and Frances could write their names. For a woman that was fairly rare in the 1780s so it appears Frances had some basic education. It is not known exactly what happened to the family but some misfortune did fall on them - the loss of the family's home in 1805. An impoverished Thomas, deep in debt, signed over his land and effects before July that year. The couple had 8 children to care for, the youngest only 3 years old. 
Sometime between 1805 and 1831 Thomas died. In December that year Frances, a widow, set sail for New York with her daughter Elizabeth (Betty) Bell and Betty's children Ann, Phoebe, Mary, Peter & Joseph. They were meeting Betty's husband Peter Bell who had previously settled in New York.

Peter and Elizabeth and their children as well as Elizabeth's brother John Higginson eventually left New York for the wilderness of a new settlement in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). Peter filed a petition for land in 1839 explaining that he wasn't happy living in New York and desired land in Arkell Ontario.  But what happened to Frances?

She was 62 years old when she left her homeland for America. Did she die there? Or did she travel with the Bell family to Upper Canada and die there? The records are sparse for Upper Canada in that time period and her death remains a mystery.  It must have been difficult for Frances - and I suspect she never saw her other children again after 1831. Her daughter Sarah remained behind in England until June 1841 when she too left for America, settling in Illinois with her husband Aaron Richardson. Poor Sarah died in Illinois that August.

What challenging lives our ancestors lived! I cannot imagine leaving my children and grandchildren behind and venturing off to an unknown land at 62 years of age. I am glad though that Frances was with her daughter Elizabeth and some of her grandchildren.  I hope that was some comfort to her.

December 2, 2016

Building a Backup to Internet Archive's Digital Collections

The Internet Archive needs our help. According to their blog:
You may not know this, but your support for the Internet Archive makes more than 3 million e-books available for free to millions of Open Library patrons around the world.
Your support has fueled the work of journalists who used our Political TV Ad Archive in their fact-checking of candidates’ claims.
It keeps the Wayback Machine going, saving 300 million Web pages each week, so no one will ever be able to change the past just because there is no digital record of it. The Web needs a memory, the ability to look back.
Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy—where people have been rounded up simply for what they read.  At the Internet Archive, we are fighting to protect our readers’ privacy in the digital world.
So this year, we have set a new goal: to create a copy of Internet Archive’s digital collections in another country. We are building the Internet Archive of Canada because, to quote our friends at LOCKSS, “lots of copies keep stuff safe.” [ by Brewster Kahle]
Find out how you can help on the Internet Archives Blog:  Help Us Keep the Archive Free, Accessible, and Reader Private

December 1, 2016

12 Christmas Gifts for a Genealogist

Here's a list of a dozen gifts your favourite genealogist might like for Christmas. Maybe you could even sneak one or two for yourself!

  1. Ancestry.com subscription
  2. DNA Kit 10% off AncestryDNA Nov 29-Dec 14 in U.S.A. or Ancestry DNA in Canada
  3. Echo Smart Pen by Live Scribe for recording Family Stories and Memories. I love my SmartPen which I bought on Amazon. I use it to record my 93 year old auntie's stories of her childhood, then I plug it into my laptop and the digital record transfers. Using the pen while auntie speaks, I make jot notes in the special notebooks. Then I can play the recorded stories by touching any word in the notebook. Very cool!
  4. Legacy Family Tree Webinars subscription
  5. Rootstech 2017 Registration
  6. A loupe for magnification so you can scrutinize old photos and documents for clues.
  7. A Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite, Nook, or other e-reader so you can purchase genealogy books and read them in airports, waiting rooms, on the beach or pretty much anywhere
  8. A subscription to the Genealogy Magazine of your choice. I like Family Tree Magazine, but the one you drool over could be very different.
  9. A beautiful journal for writing your own memoirs. I love Iona Handcrafted Books and have asked my hubby to buy me another one this Christmas as I'm on my last one. Tip: If the checkout won't accept a non-USA order, just email or phone as they do accept international orders.
  10. A Shutterfly gift certificate  I love Shutterfly for creating family photo books or calendars. It's also great for simply getting copies of your family photos so you can share them with family members
  11. Acid Free Storage boxes for your treasured family photos and original documents
  12. A copy of the Genealogical Mystery Novel "Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery" by Lorine McGinnis Schulze, available in Paperback or E-Book. In this debut novel, middle-aged Janie Riley is off to Salt Lake City to research her ancestors. Little does she know that murder and mysteries await her!

November 27, 2016

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 41V Madame de Bure Jeanne

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"

November 26, 2016

Winner of the DEATH FINDS A WAY Giveaway

Olive Tree Genealogy is pleased to announce the winner of the random draw for my book Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery was Susan Gingras Calcagni.

Congratulations to Susan! Death Finds a Way is a genealogy mystery book set in the past and the present, and my first venture into fiction. I'm excited about the positive reaction from genealogy and mystery enthusiasts! With a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.com this is a genealogy mystery book you don't want to miss! 

If you are not familiar with the story here is a summary:

Janie Riley is an avid genealogist with a habit of stumbling on to dead bodies. With her husband Steven, Janie heads to Salt Lake City Utah to track down her elusive fourth great-grandmother. But her search into the past leads her to more than she bargained for. Her discovery of a dark secret brings her closer to danger. Can she solve the mysteries of the past and the present, and untangle a web of lies before disaster strikes?

Read some of the reviews for the book on my author page  My other books (non-fiction) can be viewed on my Blog Book page.