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March 23, 2018

A Beautiful Confirmation Photo

This gorgeous cabinet card is one of the photographs in an antique photo album I rescued.

Her name is Elsie Steffenhagen and it was her confirmation day. The photographic studio was in Lake City Minnesota.

You can view more of the beautiful photos I have published online for all to enjoy at my new website Lost Faces

The Santelmann family photo album can be found at


March 21, 2018

Update on 1943 Wedding Dress - it has a Home!

Last week I wrote about a 1943 Wedding Dress that had come down in the family and was now in our possession. What To Do With a 1943 Wedding Dress
explained that we have a beautiful dress worn by my husband's grandmother's sister Florence Elgie when she married Wilbert Hooper in St. Mary's Ontario.

As well as the dress we had the original marriage certificate and a newspaper clipping which contained a photo of the wedding party. I asked for suggestions on what we should do with this dress. One I received was to donate it to a local museum, so I contacted St. Marys Museum and Archives and a few days later received a reply that yes they were interested.

Then the fun began! We knew that my mother-in-law had more items that related to this St. Mary's family. Because they owned the Hooper Dairy in that small town I decided the museum would probably be delighted to receive everything we had.

You can see from the photo on the left all the goodies, such as Hooper Dairy milk bottles and milk tickets and tokens. We even have a photo of the original building for  "C.F. Hooper, Exeter Ontario New Laid Eggs". The wedding dress went back into its original box (top upper right of the photo above) wrapped carefully in its original tissue paper.

I'm excited about getting this packed up and shipped off to St. Marys Museum o Monday. Thank you to my readers who had suggestions and especially to daven5port whose idea it was to ask a local museum.

March 19, 2018

Preservation of a Lost Faces Album Part 3

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.

After I have finished documenting every page in the rescued photo album, I sart the process of gently and carefully removing the photos. This can be a very laborious process are many are "stuck" to the pages with 100 or more years of dust and grime. I use a very thin plastic flexible ruler when necessary to gently assist each photo out of its slot. My goal is to not damage the album pages or the photo of course, so I do not want to just grab the photo and pull it out.

As I remove each photo, I assign a two letter abbreviation designating the name of the album and a number consistent with the order the photo was placed in the album on the verso (back) in pencil. If there is anything written on the album page that is not also written on the photo, I add that information to the photo back.

I also note (in pencil) the album number and name in the front inside page of the album. This allows me to reassemble the photos with the correct album in the future.

The next stage involves scanning, then storing each photo in an acid-free sleeve and storage box. More on that in my next blog post!

March 18, 2018

Nursing Sister Philips WW1 Photo Album 45R

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"

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.