The WWI Soldier Girl: Hazel Blauser Carter

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena searches old newspapers to uncover the story of Hazel Carter, who disguised herself as a man in order to follow her husband into battle in WWI – and almost made it. During the American... (Read More)

WWI Christmas Truce: When the Guns Stopped Firing

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena tells a remarkable story: how the power of Christmas – with its hope of “peace on earth, good will to men” – temporarily stopped the fighting during WWI in 1914. By December 1914, Germany,... (Read More)

How to Research Old Diaries & Personal Journals for Genealogy

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary gives examples of how your ancestors’ diaries and journals—some available online in various collections—are invaluable to your family history research. As family historians, we turn to newspapers to corroborate vital records—but often neglect to... (Read More)

Rationing Thanksgiving Dinner during World War I

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post—just in time for Thanksgiving—Gena searches old newspapers to learn about the Thanksgiving dinners our ancestors had during World War I. For many Americans, the word Thanksgiving conjures up images of family, a bountiful feast,... (Read More)

Arlington National Cemetery Removing Mementos Left at Graves

Military cemeteries traditionally have a uniform look: clean, unadorned, orderly. The appearance of the military crosses was immortalized in the lines of the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written by Canadian John McCrae during WWI on 3 May 1915: In Flanders fields the poppies grow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place;... (Read More)

Veterans Day Special: How to Trace Your Veteran Ancestors

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post—in celebration of today being Veterans Day—Gena searches old newspapers to help fill in the story of an ancestor’s military service during World War I. As our thoughts on this Veterans Day turn to the... (Read More)

Harrybelle (Durant) Stark: The Last Casualty of WWI

Harrybelle (Durant) Stark (1891-1937) gave the last full measure of devotion to our country. She was the last casualty of World War I. Born March 1891 in Pensacola, Florida, she was the daughter of Osmond P. (1856-1913) and Annette (Knowles) (1880- ) Durant. Harrybelle attended Saint Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in Birmingham, Alabama,... (Read More)