Three Red Cross Nurses
Who served in Siberia during and after WWI

December 2013
Sometimes we run across stories in our collections that just beg to be told.
Meet three courageous nurses from the America...
Presentation By: Juliana Szucs Smith
Juliana Szucs Smith has been working for Ancestry.com for more
than 15 years. She beg...
Annie Laurie Williams– American Red Cross Nurse

Annie Laurie Williams
made headlines during her
service with the Red Cros...
Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse
Born in Elizabeth, Union Co., New Jersey to
English and Irish immigrant parents...
Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse
Florence’s file is 266 pages long. Her
application to join the Red Cross
gives ...
Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse
This letter to her mother, found in her Red Cross file, prompted us to learn mo...
The Story of the Petrograd Children’s Ark
In the summer of 1918, children from St. Petersburg (Petrograd) were sent to
“ca...
The Story of the Petrograd Children’s Ark
The “Children’s Colony” on Russky Island was tended to by Red Cross staff and le...
Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse

The Russians bestowed a Silver
Medal on the Ribbon of St. Anna
to Florence for...
Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse
Florence’s sense of humor shows
in this correspondence when she
learns that her...
Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse
Another nurse who ended up in Siberia was Miss Stephanie Clara Pohle, a firstge...
Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse
We found three passports for her—all with photos.

"U.S. Passport Applications,...
Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse
Stephanie served from 19141920 in Austria, China,
Hungary, and Siberia. Her
Sib...
Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse

In this correspondence from her
mother, one of several letters inquiring
about...
Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse

In this letter Stephanie describes family life,
her dreams to travel, and than...
Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse

(cont’d from previous page)

"U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,...
Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse

With the previous letter,
Stephanie included
these maps of her
journey with th...
Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse

This efficiency report
includes a timeline of her
service in Siberia and tells...
U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959
The U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files cover 1916 through 1959, with con...
Navigating the records
• Files are not always in strict order, but will typically run roughly in reverse
chronological ord...
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Ancestry.com: Red Cross Nurses

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Sometimes we run across stories in our collections that just beg to be told. Meet three courageous nurses from the American Red Cross who served in Siberia during the Russian Revolution.

Published in: Education, Health & Medicine
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  • Juliana, Have you ever come across a "Helen" serving in Serbia Christmas 1919. You might be interested in following: A Christmas Letter written on a train in Siberia to my great aunt, Rosalie O'Donnell. It is among the hundreds of letters in my book, 'The World After WW1, 1918 - 1921' I hope you enjoy it. On Board the American Consul General's Train, On Board the American Consul General's Train,On Board the American Consul General's Train,On Board the American Consul General's Train, 25 Dec 1919 - here is the link https://www.facebook.com/julie.chitwood.3/posts/10207637957368080
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  • @Juliana Smith
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  • You can browse or search the U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959 here: http://ancstry.me/15qy0qr
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Ancestry.com: Red Cross Nurses

  1. 1. Three Red Cross Nurses Who served in Siberia during and after WWI December 2013
  2. 2. Sometimes we run across stories in our collections that just beg to be told. Meet three courageous nurses from the American Red Cross who served in Siberia during the Russian Revolution.
  3. 3. Presentation By: Juliana Szucs Smith Juliana Szucs Smith has been working for Ancestry.com for more than 15 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
  4. 4. Annie Laurie Williams– American Red Cross Nurse Annie Laurie Williams made headlines during her service with the Red Cross. Knowing that she traveled abroad, in addition to this great clipping from her file, we were able to locatee her passport on Ancestry.com and found her picture as well. Now we have a face to go with this “plucky American girl” who took on a Russian soldier. "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959," database, Ancestry.com, (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2365: accessed 2 July 2013) Annie Laurie Williams, newspaper clipping [image 67]. Citing Historical Nurse Files, Compiled ca. 1916–ca. 1959. Series number A1 27140, textual materials, 101 boxes. Records of the American National Red Cross, 1881–2008. National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland.
  5. 5. Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse Born in Elizabeth, Union Co., New Jersey to English and Irish immigrant parents, Florence signed on with the American Red Cross 9 September 1918, five months after America entered the war. "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959," database, Ancestry.com, (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2365: accessed 2 July 2013) Florence Eliot Warburton Farmer, timeline of service [image 1093]. Citing Historical Nurse Files, Compiled ca. 1916–ca. 1959. Series number A1 27140, textual materials, 101 boxes. Records of the American National Red Cross, 1881–2008. National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database, Ancestry.com (accessed 2 July 2013: http://www.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1174), passport for Florence Farmer, no. 442, Emergency Passport Applications, Argentina thru Venezuela, 1906-1925, Volume 002: Siberia, 1920-22. Citing General Records of the Department of State, 1763 - 2002, Record Group 59; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  6. 6. Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse Florence’s file is 266 pages long. Her application to join the Red Cross gives her residence, where she was educated, and what experience she had in nursing prior to service in the Red Cross. We wonder if she had any idea when she filled this out, that within a few years she’d be helping nearly 780 Russian children on a trip around the world. Read on to learn the story. "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Florence Eliot Warburton Farmer, application for enrollment [image 1136].
  7. 7. Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse This letter to her mother, found in her Red Cross file, prompted us to learn more about why Florence was traveling from Siberia to Petrograd by way of San Francisco and New York with 780 children. "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Florence Eliot Warburton Farmer, correspondence dated 17 July 1920 [image 978].
  8. 8. The Story of the Petrograd Children’s Ark In the summer of 1918, children from St. Petersburg (Petrograd) were sent to “camp” in the Ural mountains to escape food shortages in the Civil War-torn city. The Civil War between the Red Army (Bolsheviks) and the White Army (antiBolshevik forces) turned what was supposed to be a summer trip, into a two-year ordeal for the children when their route home was cut off by fighting. The U.S. Red Cross got word of the stranded children in the Ural Mountains. Their situation was getting desperate as winter approached, and in March 1919 - after a long negotiation - the Red Cross finally began gathering the children and transporting them. In the fall of 1919 the last of the children arrived at the easternmost part of Russia at Vladivostok, where they were sheltered at Russky Island. They left Russky Island by ship and traveled to San Francisco, then on through the Panama Canal, to New York, France, Finland, and finally home to Petrograd two years after they left home.
  9. 9. The Story of the Petrograd Children’s Ark The “Children’s Colony” on Russky Island was tended to by Red Cross staff and led by newspaperman-turned-Red Cross volunteer, Riley Allen. We found several passports for Riley from this trip in the U.S. passport collection on Ancestry.com – and his emergency passport is among a number of them issued consecutively to volunteers from Siberia going to China and Japan “in transit to the U.S.”. Red Cross nurse Florence Farmer was assigned to the Children’s Colony in January 1920 and beginning in July 1920, traveled with the children on their journey around the world back to Petrograd. "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database, Ancestry.com (accessed 2 July 2013) passport for Riley Harris Allen, no. 446, Emergency Passport Applications, Argentina thru Venezuela, 1906-1925, Volume 002: Siberia, 1920-22. “Library of Congress Photo Collection, 1840-2000,” image database, Ancestry.com, (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1028: accessed 2 July 2013) Petrograd Children's Colony at Turgoyak, Siberia, c. 1919-1920, maintained by the American Red Cross. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C.
  10. 10. Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse The Russians bestowed a Silver Medal on the Ribbon of St. Anna to Florence for her service “in rendering help to the wounded of the fighting forces and relieving the suffering of the civil population.” "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Florence Eliot Warburton Farmer, correspondence dated 10 January 1920 [image 989].
  11. 11. Florence Farmer – American Red Cross Nurse Florence’s sense of humor shows in this correspondence when she learns that her will has been following her around the world. "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Florence Eliot Warburton Farmer, correspondence dated 17 Feb 1921 [image 974] and 29 July 1921 [image 962]
  12. 12. Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse Another nurse who ended up in Siberia was Miss Stephanie Clara Pohle, a firstgeneration American citizen, born to German immigrant parents who came to the U.S. in the 1870s. Born on New Year’s Eve in 1887, she was the 6th of 11 children. This Pennsylvania church record includes family births, baptisms, confirmations, places, immigration dates and ports for parents, and dates and causes of death for some members of the family. "Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985," database, Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2451: accessed 2 July 2013), Pohle family, St. Peter's German Evangelical Lutheran Church, Family Register, West Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., Pa., 1892. Citing Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
  13. 13. Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse We found three passports for her—all with photos. "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database, Ancestry.com, passport for Stephanie Clara Pohle, no. 265 (Special), dated 6 March 1915, Special Passport Applications, Volume 02: Military, Civilian, Federal Employees and Dependents, 1914-15. “U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database, Ancestry.com, passport for Stephanie Clara Pohle, no. 999, dated 3 October 1918, Emergency Passport Applications, Argentina thru Venezuela, Volume 003: Shanghai, 1918-19. "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database, Ancestry.com, passport for Stephanie Clara Pohle, no. 2421, dated 11 January 1919, Passport Applications for Travel to China, Volume 30: Emergency Passport Applications: China, 1919.
  14. 14. Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse Stephanie served from 19141920 in Austria, China, Hungary, and Siberia. Her Siberian service included work treating typhus victims. Stephanie was recommended during the war because she spoke German, and other records in her file note that she was honored by Austria and Russia for her service.
  15. 15. Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse In this correspondence from her mother, one of several letters inquiring about her daughter, we learn that two of her brothers served in World War I, while she was serving with the American Red Cross. "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Stephanie Clara Pohle, correspondence dated 26 April 1918 [image 124].
  16. 16. Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse In this letter Stephanie describes family life, her dreams to travel, and thanks the Red Cross for making it possible. (cont’d next page) "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Stephanie Clara Pohle, correspondence dated 31 December 1925, [image 32-45].
  17. 17. Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse (cont’d from previous page) "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Stephanie Clara Pohle, correspondence dated 31 December 1925, [image 32-45].
  18. 18. Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse With the previous letter, Stephanie included these maps of her journey with the American Red Cross. "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Stephanie Clara Pohle, correspondence dated 31 December 1925, [image 32-45].
  19. 19. Stephanie Pohle – American Red Cross Nurse This efficiency report includes a timeline of her service in Siberia and tells us her nursing ability was excellent and her manner was “dignified, pleasing, active.” She also got along with coworkers splendidly. "U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959,“ Ancestry.com, Stephanie Clara Pohle, efficiency report dated 15 October 1919, [image 12-13].
  20. 20. U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959 The U.S., American Red Cross Nurse Files cover 1916 through 1959, with conflicts including World War I, World War II, and others like the Russian Civil War (19171922). Although we may think of the American Red Cross Nurses primarily as treating U.S. wounded in the World Wars, they were called into service internationally during times of need. These records include correspondence with Red Cross headquarters, cards listing assignments by date, service reviews by superiors, awards and honors, medical records, personal correspondence sent by family members, and questionnaires sent to Red Cross nurses after service to determine eligibility for future service.
  21. 21. Navigating the records • Files are not always in strict order, but will typically run roughly in reverse chronological order, with post-service files at the start of the file. • The file folder listing the nurse’s name is typically visible in image, which is helpful when browsing to determine the length of the file. • When you do a search for a nurse, go to folder cover to get to the start of the file. The top image on the record page drops you on the first record that had “service” in the title. These are just three of the women in this riveting collection. Who will you discover? Search now. Stories and images compiled by Juliana Smith, Sr. Marketing and Communications Associate, Ancestry.com

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