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Archive for July, 2008

Today in History

I was on Cyndi’s List earlier this evening and clicked on Library of Congress. It lists several Library Highlights so I went to Today in History basically because it had a picture of Abraham Lincoln next to it! The link took me to “A League of His Own” referencing one of the “father’s” of bowling – Don Carter, who was born in St. Louis on this date in 1926.

There are several pictures of bowling alleys which made me think of (you were wondering when I’d get to the tie in with genealogy, weren’t you?) – how bowling seemed to be a focal point of our family’s life.  During my young childhood, Mom was in a bowling league, and I remember having to stay in the “play” (or nursery) area of the bowling alley at least one morning a week.  Luckily, one of the ladies my mom bowled with was our neighbor and her daughter became one of my closest friends for most of my childhood.  So I wasn’t entirely “bored” not being able to be out with the bowlers.

My parents bowled for recreation as well as for sport.  It seemed like no matter where we went, my mom always had her bowling bag with us.  On vacation.  To reunions.  I can’t seem to recall whether or not my dad had his own bowling ball or not.  But Mom’s was very prominent – probably because it seemed it was always on the floorboard of the backseat or in the trunk.

When we were in the Detroit area visiting my uncles, I could always count on spending at least one afternoon in the bowling alley.  I have vague memories of one rainy afternoon spent driving around looking for an open lane as there must have been a lot of league bowling at that time.

By the time I was in the 5th grade, Mom didn’t have the time to bowl in a league anymore.  However, there were plenty of times other family members joined us as we spent a lazy weekend afternoon or early evening bowling.  No matter how much I tried, I was never a very good bowler. 

Then after I met my husband we both joined our company’s bowling league.  He even went out and bought me a bowling ball, shoes, bowling glove, and a bowling bag.  Each Thursday night we’d drag the three kids to the bowling alley.  They were very good – just sitting at the table behind us coloring or playing quietly.  My husband was so patient with me and coached me until I was able to control my throw.  We’d spend early Sunday mornings practicing my swing and throw.

For two summers and two school seasons we bowled.  Our team was in first place one year so we all got our way paid to the big bowling tournament our company put on each summer.  I even received a trophy for most improved female bowler! 

Unfortunately, when our company started selling off divisions, the recreational part was the first to go.  Then my husband started traveling a lot and the kids had their own activities so we weren’t able to continue with league bowling.  Very rarely do we get to do it recreationally.  The “real” bowling alley in town is filled with leagues most days and times of the week and the other bowling alley is really a “game” center where no one respects the rules of the game (no one waits on the bowler next to them anymore!). 

So when I read the article about Don Carter, it brought back lots of memories.  I mean – I have bowled in a Don Carter Bowling Alley!

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The theme for the 4th Edition of Smile For the Camera hosted by footnotemaven is “My Favorite Photograph”. “Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that is your favorite family photo or that photograph you’ve collected and wouldn’t give up for a King’s ransom.  Is it the only photograph of an ancestor, is it funny, poignant, or very rare? My favorite photograph is the first one I ever collected. What’s yours? Share it with us! Then get back out in the summer sun.  Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!”

Jasia, at Creative Gene, had the same reaction I did – “you’ve got to be kidding!”

I can’t even begin to pick out just one!  With four children and three grandchildren, I have tons of pictures of each of them or a combination that I really love.  I also have several photos of my parents taken early in their marriage that I really like.  However, they divorced over 30 years ago, so it probably isn’t prudent for me to post those.

This photo shows my maternal grandmother, Vesta Wilt, about age 7 and her only sister, Nellie (about age 4).  It’s one of the few photos I have of my grandmother as a child.  As a child, I always wanted my hair to grow really long but having baby fine hair, it never got that long.  I tended to have pretty short hair as a young girl until I got old enough to decide I wanted to let it grow.  My mother always said that I had the same type of hair as my grandmother’s – curly and unmanageable.

The first time I saw this photo, I believe I was a very young teenager.  Many of my grandmother’s friends always told me I looked like her (I still don’t notice that much of a resemblance other than the fly-away hair and blue eyes).  Yet it brought home to me the fact that at one time, my grandmother and great-aunt had been children! 

I often wonder if this studio photograph had been an expense that their parents could hardly afford since they had four other sons to feed as well.  Was this the only photograph taken of my grandmother has a girl?  Had there been others – possibly a family photograph?  Was this taken for a special ocassion?  How long had my great-grandmother spent brushing my grandmother’s hair and getting it fixed just right?

When I look at this photo, I wonder what that young girl was thinking.  Her parents were just a few years away from divorcing; her youngest brother was just a baby; and her mother was pretty religious.  What events were shaping her character and thoughts at that time?  Did she enjoy a carefree childhood or one spent worrying about what the next day would bring?  Was she tasked for “taking care” of her little sister?

One similarity between my grandmother and I, is that I only have one sister too.  However, I’m the younger one and by many more years than these sisters. 

I am also fortunate to have a comparison picture (my grandmother, Vesta, on left).  This pictures shows the two sisters taken over 65 years later.  Even though Nellie spent the latter part of her childhood and teen age years in the West and later went on to marry and raise a family in Washington State and my grandmother (in between traveling with her husband to military posts) resided in the Dayton area, they remained very close all of their lives.  I feel so blessed to have known both of these women pretty well as I grew up and even spent some time with my great-aunt in Washington as a young child.  And I’ve been able to steal glimpses into their relationship through the many letters they wrote to one another. 

So I can’t say that this is my favorite picture out of all the ones I’ve taken, inherited or collected, but it is a photo that I return to time and again in order to see the younger version of my grandmother.  Before life got too difficult.  Before her family split up.  Before she met my grandfather.  Before she became known as a wife, mother, and grandmother.  She was just . . . Vesta.

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So many times when we locate an ancestor they have migrated from where they were born or married or built a home, to another area possibly a great distance away.  What prompts these moves?  What was it they were searching for or hoping to gain by moving?

There are many web sites dealing in reasons including: California Gold Rush, Oregon Trail, the Dustbowl of the 1930s, the Homestead Act of 1862, immigrating from another country in search of a better life, religious persecution, and more.  Today many people move from one locale to another due to a change in occupaton or a relocation, stationed at different spots due to military service, to get out of small towns or big cities, to go to school, and more. 

I thought I would detail some of my ancestors’ migration patterns.  I don’t have enough proof to document the reasons why they moved – just that they did.

Frederick Goul (5th great-grandfather)
Frederick took his wife, son, and daughter by ship (possibly the “Rawley”) from Frankfort, Germany to America in the mid-1700s.  By the time they reached Philadelphia, his wife and daughter had died. 

Adam Goul (4th great-grandfather)
Adam married Elizabeth Lutz in Pennsylvania and several of their children were born there.  They moved to Rockbridge County, Virginia by 1804 and by 1817 had migrated west to Goshen Twp, Champaign County, Ohio.  Adam and Elizabeth are buried at Treacles Creek Cemetery in Champaign County.

John Goul (3rd great-grandfather)
One of Adam’s and Elizabeth’s sons, born about 1802, in Philadelphia, he was with his parents when they moved to Ohio.  About 1823 he married Martha McManaway.  John and his wife didn’t move from Champaign County.

Malissa Goul (great-great grandmother)
Malissa met Franklin Blazer in Champaign County and they married.  The couple moved west to Madison County, Indiana before 1860 and most of their children were born there.  One son, John, and one daughter, Martha (Mat), remained in the area.  Daughter, Katie, grew up in the County and only moved in 1930 with her husband to live with their son in Greene County, Indiana.  Daughter, Rachel, moved west to Missouri and Kansas.  Son, Wesley, moved to Champaign County, Ohio where he married, brought up children and died.

Glen R. Johnson (maternal grandfather)
My grandfather (son of Katie Blazer and John L. Johnson) was born in Anderson, Indiana and never moved away until he was in training for WWI at Ft. Omaha, Nebraska and then on to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas.  He went to France toward the end of WWI and then returned to his wife, son and home in Anderson.  During his career in the Army Air Corps (later the Air Force), he and his family moved East to Greene County, Ohio.  This is the place they considered home for the remainder of their lives.  Yet they also moved according to the military to Wiesbaden, Germany.  My grandfather also spent some time in Washington D.C., Tullahoma, Tennessee; Finschafen, New Guinea; Orlando, Florida.  Returning to the Dayton area before 1960, he and his wife lived out the remainder of their lives in that area.

Jacob Johnson (3rd great-grandfather)
Jacob was born in New Jersey in 1787.  He moved (probably with his parents and family) by 1816 to the Southeastern section of Ohio in Brown County, Ohio.  His wife’s family (Ann Shields) has also been located in that area.  By 1840 Jacob and family were living in Center Township, Rush County, Indiana, where he spent the remainder of his life.

James Wilson Johnson (great-great grandfather)
He was born in Ohio when his parents, Jacob and Ann, lived in Brown County.  As a child he moved with them to Rush County, Indiana.  In the 1880 Census James and his second wife, Margaret Gordon, are living in Stoney Creek Twp, Madison County, Indiana.  James spent some time in Michigan in his later years living with each of his daughter’s and their families.  He moved one last time – when he was buried in Little Blue River Cemetery in Rush County, Indiana.

John Mullis and Dolly Stanley (3rd great grandfather and mother)
In-laws of James Wilson Johnson, they moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina before 1838 to Rush County, Indiana.

Perhaps as I continue with my research, I will discover the reason why these people moved from one area (or country) to another.  It has just been quite interesting to see their migration patterns.

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Rummaging through the old photographs at my mom’s house in 2000, I came across one with the name “Chase Noonan and Friends” on the back.  Who is or was he, I wondered. My mom told me he was Aunt Mat’s son.

Martha Blazer, also known as “Aunt Mat”, was the oldest daughter and second child of Franklin Blazer and Malissa Goul.  She was the sister of my great-grandmother, Katie J. Blazer and my elusive great-great-aunt Rachel Blazer Given.

My mother remembers a woman who she called “dirty” – probably because she chewed tobacco.  She said when Aunt Mat would visit they had to get her a “spit” bucket.  My mom thought Aunt Mat had another son besides Chase but I’ve yet to find one.

I came across Martha Hardman in the 1900 Census living in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana on what looks like Central.  She was 39 years old and widowed.  She listed that she had one child who was still alive.  Also in the household was Thomas C. Noonan (born July 1887), age 12.

The Madison County Marriage Index lists that Martha Blazier (sic) married John Noonan on July 4, 1887.  Martha married Peter Hardman on March 19, 1893.  That was about all the information I found for Martha besides her obituary stating that she died on March 10, 1948 in Anderson, Indiana.  It listed her age as 87 and that she was survived by one son, Chase Noonan, of Anderson.

For several years that was all the information I had about Martha and her son.  I did know that Chase had married and had a daughter, Ruth, as I’d come across pictures of “Mrs. Chase Noonan and daughter, Ruth”.  No matter where I looked, I couldn’t seem to find any further mention of Chase, his wife, or Ruth.  That is until I ran across a 1930 Census taken in Bexar County, Texas.  It showed Ruth was living at Ursuline Academy in San Antonio, age 15.  I then looked further into that Census and found Chase, aged 40, widowed, living as a boarder in an unrelated household.

What happened to Chase’s wife?  More importantly what was her name?  And how did the family get from Indiana to San Antonio?

Thanks to my local library, I can access the Census records from Heritage Quest, and found Chase (listed as Charles T.) – age 30, his wife, Agnes – age 28, daughter, Ruth Martha – age 3, and son, William E. (looks like 14 but I believe it’s 4) born in Ohio, in San Antonio in the 1920 Census.  Chase’s occupation was a machinist.  I finally had a name for his wife plus I located a son!

When Familysearch digitized Texas death records, I learned that Agnes Hughes Noonan was born on Oct. 2, 1891 in Mayo, Northern Ireland.  That corresponds to the 1930 Census for Ruth where she lists her mother being born in Northern Ireland.  She was the daughter of John Hughes and Mary (no maiden name listed).  Agnes died on Feb. 23, 1923 at her home at 221 E. Georgia Ave., San Antonio, Texas of what appears to be chronic myocarditia.  On the death certificate Chase is listed as “Chase T. Noonan”.  Agnes was buried at Mission Burial Park in San Antonio.

Then I found William Emmett Noonan at Kelly Field, San Antonio in the 1930 Census.  He lists his birthplace as Ohio (which I found out later is probably correct as it has been claimed that Chase and family lived in northern Ohio for a short time).  William’s age was 26, he was in the Special Services, a soldier in the U.S. Army, and it looks like it reads 44th School Squadron.   I believe I also located a death record for William that shows he passed away on March 15, 1956 in Bexar County, Texas.  Unfortunately, I can’t get into the death record to find out if this is the correct person.

Through some newspaper clippings, I located Ruth’s graduation from Ursuline Convent when she took her vows to become a nun.  She took the name Sister Mary Rebecca in June 1939.  She was teaching at St. Patrick’s Parochial School in Galveston.

When Ancestry had free access to military records a couple months ago, I found a WWII Registration card dated April 27, 1942 for Chase that lists his full name as Chase Thomas Noonan, born July 9, 1888 in Anderson, Indiana.  He was living at the Stillwell Hotel in Anderson, Indiana and his telephone exchange was 5596.  He was also employed by the Stillwell Hotel.  Chase listed that his daughter would always know his address and he listed her as Sister Mary Rebecca, living at the Ursuline Convent in Galveston, Texas.  He stood 5’ 5½” tall and weighed 150 lbs.  Chase had light complexion, brown eyes and black hair. 

When I contacted the Indiana Room at the Anderson Public Library, I was pleasantly surprised to receive via email several news clippings concerning Chase, his father, John Noonan and Aunt Mat.  They detailed that John had been ill and hospitalized and then his subsequent death on Oct. 16, 1921 at St. John’s hospital.  It was also thought that he had never married and had no known heirs (other than his late sister’s widower) to his estate that was estimated over $60,000.  Aunt Mat apparently read that news article and went straight to work.  She put out a search for her son, whom she had not seen since one visit in 1910 after he’d left Anderson.  She revealed to the Anderson newspaper that she and John (Jack) Noonan had married in 1885 and divorced less than two years – although Aunt Mat said Chase was born in 1886 less than a year into her marriage.  She said that her son had been employed by an auto company in Cleveland in 1910.  Jack and Chase had seen each other from time to time and remained on friendly terms throughout his childhood but Mat had not seen or spoken to her ex-husband after Chase left Anderson in 1907.  Mat also appealed to the War Dept. hoping they had a record for her son.  In the same news article, she revealed that she had been married not twice, but three times.  Her second husband, Peter Hardman, she married in 1891 and he died in 1900.  During a trip to the East in 1905 she met and married a man named Matoon.  She left him very soon after that and returned to using her second husband’s name.

An article also emailed to me dated Dec. 5, 1922 claims that Chase had been located and would receive $2,500 from his father’s estate.  The rest had been gifted to friends and in-laws shortly before John Noonan’s death.  When he returned to Anderson, he brought his eight year old daughter, Ruth, with him.

Another newspaper article suggests that Chase had married for a second time to a woman named Pauline Elese (maiden name unknown) as a Divorce Proceeding Listing was located in the San Antonio Light, March 8, 1932 edition.

In that email there was also a death notice for Chase (whom I was unable to locate in the Texas death records).  He had returned to live and work in Anderson (as listed on the April 1942 military registration) and was employed by the Delco Remy plant as an inspector.  He died on Feb. 2, 1949 from a skull fracture after an accidental fall.  His daughter, listed as Miss Ruth Rosaleen Noonan from Chicago, was reported as his survivor.  He was taken back to San Antonio and buried in the family plot at Mission Burial Park.

I think I’ve documented many facts in my research into Aunt Mat and Chase Noonan.  I haven’t been able to locate any further information on either Ruth or William.  It looks unlikely that they had any children which leaves me with a cold trail up to the present and several unanswered questions.

I’ve also discovered that not everything can be found at one time.  It might take several years, the kindness of strangers, and pieces of information that had seemed unlikely at first in order to piece together enough of the puzzle to be able to tell what the full picture probably is.  I believe I’m done chasing Chase.

(Photos from Top – Chase Noonan (L) & Friends; Aunt Mat (Martha Blazer) and son, Chase Noonan; Mrs. Chase Noonan and daughter, Ruth; Agnes Hughes Noonan’s Death Certificate; WWII Registration for Chase Noonan.)

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I’ve finally been able to catch up (somewhat!) on genealogy blogs since I’ve been gone.  Imagine my surprise and delight to see that my post Traditions was given a nod by Randy Seaver in his Best of Genea-Blogs July 13-19, 2008! Thank you, Randy! And thanks to everyone who clicked on my post from Randy’s site! Please let me know if you read my post on “Traditions”. Jasia, at Creative Gene left a comment that she had thought about using that Theme for a future Carnival of Genealogy. What do you think? I think it’s a great idea!

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Before I get into the “meat” of this post, let me say that for the last few days I’ve been frantically searching for the text of this.  I knew I had written it, searched all through this blog looking for it, searched through my document files on my hard drive in case I’d written it but not posted it, and then today decided that I might have posted it pre-genealogy blog on my personal blog.  Voila!  Found it!  Most of the following was posted to Hello . . . Is This Thing On? on February 25, 2008 and is titled Searching for Rachel.

So I spent part of the weekend looking for Rachel – she is (or was) technically my great-great aunt.  My maternal grandfather’s, mom’s sister.  All I knew about Rachel is the year she was born and that at the time of my great-grandmother’s death in 1930 she was listed on the obituary as Mrs. Rachel Givens from Missouri.  No one knew what her husband’s name was and typically at that period of time if a woman is listed as Mrs. (her name) Surname – that generally means they were widowed or divorced.  Awhile back I finally found her in the 1900 census living in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, Morris and 2 step-sons, William and Wheeler, and a 1 yr old daughter – (looked like) Shawn.  So yesterday after realizing that I was going to have to spread the net out a little trying to find her in the 1910 or 1920 censuses, I started using variations of the Givens.  Finally after I spelled it without the “s” on the end, I found Rachel and Maurice (spelled differently) in 1910 about the same place they were in 1900.  This time there were additional children.  Wheeler was now listed as Charles W., “Shawn” was no where to be found but Mary (about the same age as “Shawn” would have been) was there along with a son, Nathaniel and a son Arthur A., and twin daughters, Pearl and Mearl.  Rachel had listed that she was the mother of 6 children but only 5 were living – so somewhere in there was a child who was stillborn or died sometime between 1900 and 1910.  In fact I ran across the Missouri death certificate (thank you Missouri for digitizing the old death records!) so I now have a more complete look for this elusive branch of the family.  I found William in the 1920 census already married with children.  Now in 1920 Morris and Rachel were living in Wyandotte County, Kansas – so they hopped the state line somewhere in the 10 years previous.  I’m not sure my great-grandmother ever saw her sister after Rachel moved to Missouri from Indiana (where she was born and grew up).  So now I’m trying to locate Morris or Maurice in the 1890 census to see who he was married to before Rachel when the 2 oldest boys were toddlers.  Since Rachel grew up in Indiana, need to figure out if she was in Missouri visiting other relatives when she met Morris or if he was living in Indiana when they met.  I did find a Givens family living down the street from some of her relatives – but no Morris in the family – maybe he was visiting them (his relatives) when they met and he whisked her off to marry & mother his 2 children. 

Update on this post: When I wrote this, somehow I completely forgot that I won’t be locating the 1890 census anytime soon since almost all of it was destroyed in a fire. 

I’ve found Maurice (born September 1857) living in his parents’ household in the 1860 Census in Columbia Boro, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Parents listed are Nathaniel and Catherine Given.   Catherine’s maiden name was discovered to be Waltman as listed in Familysearch.org.  The couple was married on March 22, 1853.  They had four sons and two daughters (George, David, Maurice, William, Laura and Saloam).  The marriage ended (probably by Catherine’s death) and Nathaniel then married Sarah Emma Stout on April 16, 1867.  They had four daughters and three sons (Carrie, Florence, Grace, Annie, Franklin, Washington and Walter). 

Maurice was found in his parents home in the 1870 Census living in 8-WD Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  He was not found in the 1880 Census even though his parents are still in Dauphin County. 

On October 17, 1887 his first son, William Albert Given, was born in Strong City, Chase County, Kansas.  According to his death certificate, William’s mother was Elizabeth Rose.  She is also thought to be the mother of Charles Wheeler Given, born December 22, 1889.  It is likely that Elizabeth died in the next few years.

Maurice went on to marry my great-great aunt, Rachel Blazer and their first child, Mary, was born in Oct. 1898 according to the 1910 Census (this is probably the child listed as “Shawn” or a misspelling of “Sarah” in the 1900 Census born Oct. 1898).  Mary is listed as age 12 on the 1910 Census which would put her birth around 1898.  The family is living in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri in the 1900 and 1910 Censuses. 

Also in the 1910 Census Maurice lists that he has been married twice and Rachel lists one marriage.  They report that they have been married 13 years putting their marriage date about 1897.  Rachel also lists that she has given birth to 6 children with 5 of them living.

The 1920 Census shows the family living in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas with their two sons and two daughters (Arthur, Nathaniel, Pearl and Mearl).  Throughout the Censuses, his first name is spelled as both “Morris” and “Maurice”.  The surname varies from Givens and Given. 

I’ve located Maurice’s death date on the Kansas Historical Society website under Fraternal Necrologies.  He was a member of the I.O.O.F. and died March 6, 1930 (which would have made Rachel a widow at the time of my great-grandmother’s death in May 1930).

William, the oldest son, died on December 17, 1946 of carbon monoxide poisoining (ruled accidental on the Death Certificate).  According to the Social Security Index, Charles died in September 1976.  There is no other information on Mary.  Arthur died in June 1959 according to the SSDI.  He was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.  His obituary lists those who survive him as his wife, Maude; daughters, Juanita and Alice; and sons, Lawrence, William, James and George.

Daughters, Mearl and Pearl, have not been located past the 1920 Census.  Nathaniel was located in news articles and died on May 1, 1984 in Topeka, Kansas.

A listing on the Missouri Birth and Death Records Database shows that Rachel (spelled Rachael) and Maurice Givens had a daughter born July 17, 1908 at 1650 Madison in Jackson County, Missouri.  This record shows Maurice was born in Pennsylvania and Rachel was born in Indiana.  Since a daughter wasn’t found on the 1910 Census born about 1908, I’ve made the deduction that this is the child that had died. 

Did Rachel ever return to Indiana to visit her mother, Malissa Goul Blazer, before Malissa died on March 7, 1907?  Did she ever see her two sisters, Katie Blazer Johnson, or Martha (Mat) Blazer Noonan Hardman, again?  Or her brothers, John and Wesley (who had moved to Champaign County, Ohio before 1900)?  Did her children or grandchildren ever travel East to meet or visit with their Blazer or Goul relatives?  And what did Rachel look like? (This mystery may be solved!  Stay tuned for a future post!)

And why does Rachel interest me if she’s just my great-grandmother’s sister?  I think it has to do more with the solving of a mystery than anything else.  I found one of Rachel’s grandson’s still living and have a letter to be sent off to him.  Possibly he can fill in some of the blanks or put me in touch with other descendents of Rachel and Maurice.

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My family really doesn’t take vacations to exotic or even genealogical places.  We go where family is located – the places we called home at one time.  However, along the way we have periodically stopped to see a historical site or be tourists for awhile.

In the summer of 1994, I took a little over three weeks’ vacation back to my mom’s and a few days at my in-laws.  Just me and four kids!  On the way from Ohio back to Missouri, we stopped at Billie Creek Village located in Parke County, Indiana. If you enjoy stepping back into time and covered bridges, this is a wonderful place to see. Motoring on toward Missouri, we stopped in Hannibal (as we normally do to fill up with gas) and decided to see some Mark Twain historical sights. We toured the Haunted House on Hill Street Wax Museum, sort of. The Wax museum part of it was okay for four young children but as soon as we started into the Haunted area, with chains rattling and screams emanating from the dark, three of the four tore out of there. We walked down the street and took pictures of Samuel Clemens’ boyhood home and the Becky Thatcher House among others.

Two years ago when we reached Hannibal, we stopped so the youngest daughter (not so young any more) could go through the Haunted House.  During the Fourth of July Riverfest in Hannibal, the streets are packed with cars and the closest place to park would have been several blocks away.  With a dog traveling with us, one person would have to stay behind with her.  That’s when we stopped to turn around at a service station and noticed the Molly Brown Birthplace and Museum. (Molly Brown was a Titanic survivor.)  Daughter decided that was just as good as the Haunted House.  The home, as expected wasn’t much, but I learned a lot more than I ever thought I could learn about this woman.  We spent at least twenty minutes lingering over all the news clippings, studying the furnishings and listening to the guide explain how the small rooms were used by the family.

On the way from Missouri to Ohio recently, we passed through Springfield, Illinois.  I mentioned to my husband that “sometime we’ll have to stop to see Lincoln’s home”.  Then I began wondering where he was actually buried.  As a Lincoln history buff, I would surely have remembered!  So as we returned from Ohio retracing our path back to Missouri, as we got closer to Springfield, I asked my husband if we could just see how far the house was off the highway.  So we detoured into Springfield through the old part, following the signs until we got there.  Once again, we had the dog with us so our daughter volunteered to stay with her while the rest of us went into the Visitor’s Center to get the information we needed about walking through the house.  It’s a free tour, but not self-guided.  The tour didn’t start for 30 minutes, and I didn’t feel we should take that long with the daughter waiting on us.  The parking is $2 (basically on the honor system) which is a deal when you consider so many historical sights now charge for tours.  So we inquired about the tomb.  It wasn’t that far away – however, it was closed for three days while they did some cement work.  We were allowed to walk to the house, walk around the house, and see two other houses (inside too) that had been restored to their original condition.  It appears that the historical society is restoring several of the surrounding homes and buildings in that area.  You can go to Lincoln Home and Lincoln’s Tomb for more information.

The moral of the story is . . . if you even think you might get to stop at a historic sight or even a courthouse or cemetery on your genealogical quest – call, write or email to make sure it is open when you will be there, if there are any fees for parking or tours, hours of operation, what type of parking you can expect, and if there are any other festivals happening at the same time.

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