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Archive for August, 2008

Many times when we find an obituary of an ancestor or a member of a collateral family, we skim over the details without really taking it apart.  I will list some obituaries that I have found or that I have copies of and analyze them part by part.

ONE:

Funeral Services for John Lafe Johnson – Full name was John Lafayette Johnson, his nieces and nephews called him Uncle Lafe as there were many in the family named “John”.  The inclusion and shortening of his middle name was to make sure that extended family knew precisely that this was their family member.

age 78 – Age is given so if there is another member of the community with a similar name, this information would be enough to differentiate them.

former resident of Anderson – He had lived in Anderson most of his life and was well known in that town, however he had not lived in that location for about 9 years.  This information shows he still had family ties in that locale.

who died Sunday – Day of the week instead of the actual date.

at the home of a son, Glen Johnson, of Fairfield, O. – where the death took place.  By saying “a” son, this seems to indicate that John had more than one son – which he did – however, the oldest, Letis, had been deceased for many years.  This also gives the name of the son and where he lived.

will be held today at 2 p.m. in the Bob Waltz funeral home with the Rev. James H. Welsh, pastor of the East Lynn Christian Church in charge. – Day, time and location of funeral services.  Provides information on what type of officiant will be handling the service.  By naming a minister of a particular church, this is one way to deduct that the deceased had some affiliation either with the Pastor, that particular church, or that denomination.

Burial will be in Maplewood Cemetery. - Location of burial.  No city is listed indicating that it is in the same city as the newspaper location (Anderson, Indiana).

The body will arrive at the funeral home this morning. – Indicates death took place in another location and the deceased will be transported to the funeral home this same morning.

Questions I have after reading this one include:

  • How many children did John Johnson have?
  • Who were his survivors and how are they related?
  • What was his wife’s name?
  • Was she still alive or had she died?
  • Why was John at his son’s home?
  • Why was that particular minister in charge of the funeral?
  • Was he a member of the Christian Church in Anderson, Indiana?
  • What was the exact date of death?
  • Had John been ill?
  • Was his death sudden?
  • Was he a native of Anderson or had he been born somewhere else?
  • Who were his parents?
  • What occupation(s) had he held in his life?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

TWO:

This clipping is very similar to ONE except for a four things.  First: It states in bold headlines that “Johnson Funeral To Be Wednesday”.  This suggests that the obituary ran at least a day or two prior to the funeral as opposed to ONE, which suggests the funeral is that same day.  Second: Throughout the clipping, it also states Wednesday as the day of the funeral.  This answers the question – what day of the week the funeral will be held. Third: this obituary states “East Maplewood Cemetery” instead of just Maplewood.  This details the exact cemetery (as there is a West and East).  Fourth: Adding on to the last sentence it states, “to lie in state until the hour of the funeral.”  Now it is learned that the body not only will be transported to the funeral home, but there will be a time when visitors may pay their respects to the deceased and family until time for the funeral.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

THREE:

I also have the original typewritten copy that my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, prepared for the obituary.  It reads:

JOHN LAFAYETTE JOHNSON, son of James W. and Amanda Johnson (nee Mullis) was born March 2, 1861 in Rush County, Indiana. His early boyhood was spent in and around Rushville and Kokomo, Indiana. While a very young man he settled in Madison County, near Anderson, Indiana. On July 4, 1883 he was married to Katie J. Blazer. To this union were born two sons, Letus W. and Glen R. In 1910 a foster daughter, Eva, came to bless the home. Letus, the older son, passed away in 1915. Shortly after coming to Anderson, Indiana, in 1889, to make their home they became identified with the Central Christian church and continued as active members until leaving there in March, 1930, due to illness of Mrs. Johnson, to make their home with their son Glen and family at Fairfield, Ohio. On May 20, 1930, Mrs. Johnson passed away and Mr. Johnson continued Living with his son until his death on May 28, 1939. In 1889 he entered the employ of American Steel and Wire Company at Anderson. In 1904 he entered business for himself as a fruit and vegetable peddler. After taking up his residence in Fairfield, he continued to sell fruit and vegetables during the spring and summer month, until the fall of 1938. Since January this year he had been in failing health, but did not become seriously ill until last Friday and died at 10:30 A.M., Sunday, May 28th, at the age of 78 years, 2 months, and 26 days. He leaves to mourn his passing his son Glen R. and daughter Mrs. Eva Skinner of Fortville, Indiana, and 4 grandchildren.

Extra details given include:

  • Parents names, including maiden name of his mother
  • Date and place of birth
  • Locales of his youth
  • Date and to whom he was married
  • Names of his children, including details about one son being deceased and what year and that his daughter was a “foster” daughter and the date she came to live with the family.
  • Year that he settled with his family in the town of Anderson.
  • Church he joined and was affiliated with.
  • Reason he and his wife left Anderson to move to Ohio with their son.
  • Date of his wife’s death.
  • His continuation to live with his son after his wife’s death.
  • Date of his death.
  • Year of his employment, company name, and location.
  • His own business venture and the date.
  • Continuation of his own business after moving to his son’s and the date he retired.
  • How long he had been ill.
  • Exact age at death.
  • Those family members who survive him.

If this obituary had been printed in full, I would also have these questions:

  • Is a funeral to take place?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Who will be in charge?
  • Where will he be buried?

As a genealogist, I long to find obituaries written in the form that my grandfather typed for his father.  There is a wealth of information.  More than ONE or TWOTHREE records a more accurate timeline of my great-grandfather’s life.  Many questions asked of the first two clippings are answered in the typewritten obituary.

When you discover an obituary, disect it to see if it gives you the answers to pertinent questions.  Sometimes I’ve been lucky to find not one or even two but three different obituaries for the same person.  Then I need to disect each one to retrieve details that are exactly alike and then see what is left.  More often than not, one or two items are conflicting.  Possibly a survivor’s name is listed wrong or in my great-grandfather’s case, the middle name is shortened in the newspaper clippings but his full legal name is used in the typewritten obituary.  There will always be unanswered questions, but being able to pick out each piece of information will give us a better understanding of our ancestors.

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I completed my last task early this morning in the GBG games.  Whew!  I was able to get quite a bit completed – though I would like to have done more.  I think this has challenged many of us in the genea-blogging world the last two weeks.  Thanks to Thomas MacEntee, Miriam Robbins Midkiff and Kathryn M. Doyle for being the administrators for these games as well as the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.  You all really keep us on our toes and make us strive to research deeper, keep proper documentation, stay organized, remember to keep back-ups of our information, and to write what we know.  Thank you!

So without further ado – these are my final stats:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources - completed over 50 citations using John Wiley’s “How to Cite Sources”. Platinum Medal

2. Back up Your Data – didn’t complete.

3. Organize Your Research:
   
A) 0
    B) More than 20 – complete
    C) 0
    D) More than 20 – complete
    E) Created at least 20 new entries in the database; scanned over 20 photos – Complete
    F) Didn’t complete
Three Tasks – Gold Medal

4. Write! Write! Write!
    A) Wrote a Summary of my blog
    B) Participated in several of these
    C) Prepared at least 3 items in draft mode and published later.
    D) Wrote a Bio of my ancestor (finished today!)
    E) Didn’t do
Completed 4 Tasks – Diamond Medal

5. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness
    A) Commented on several new (to me) blogs
    B) Joined more than 5 new blog networks
    C) Sent an invitation to another genealogist to join Facebook
    D) Didn’t do
    E) Indexed gravesites for Find-a-Grave (over 20)
    F) Didn’t do
4 Tasks Complete – Diamond Medal

Congratulations to all the participants and to all those who won any level of medals!

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James Emory House, born 2 May 1842, was my great-grandfather, born over 100 years and dying 35 years before I was born.  Yet it is this man that I return to in my family tree to seek out more information.  His is a fascinating story, and my father was privileged to be a small child in his company.

 

 

The House family originated in England and migrated to the United States in the 1600s settling in the Glastonbury area of Hartford County, Connecticut.  The family had married into the Loveland, Hollister, Risley, Bidwell, and Bigelow families.  When Allen House (son of Lazarus House and Rebecca Risley) was a very young man, he served in the War of 1812 from July 18 to Sept. 16, 1813. He and Editha Bigelow had been married less than a year.  In 1816 the couple moved from Connecticut to New York and became members of the Methodist Church in Ovid.  They moved then to Seneca County, New York. (1)  They are found in the 1820 census for Ontario and Steuben counties living in the town of Jerusalem. (2)

 

By 1835 the family migrated to Michigan via Buffalo, New York (via Canal) then to Detroit (via steamboat) and settled in Oakland County.  He received a government land patent for Section 7, Milford Twp. Oakland Co., MI.  He had 91 acres and not much money left over.  (3) (4)

 

Allen (b. 13 Jun 1791 d. 1 Sep 1845) and Editha (b. 19 Apr 1791 d. 20 Oct 1865) had five children – Nelson W. House b. 13 Jan 1815 in Glastonbury, CT; Amasa G. House b. 26 Sep 1817 in Yates, NY; Florus Allen House b. 05 Jan 1813 in NY; Eli H. House b. 16 Feb 1824; and Abigail House b. East Hampton, Middlesex County, Connecticut.  The couple is buried in Oakgrove Cemetery, Milford, Michigan.

 

Florus Allen House married Julia Ann Lewis (b. 24 Dec 1815) before 1838.  Florus received government land in Livingston County, Michigan.  He first acquired 80 acres in 1835 and then120 acres in 1837.  The family is found in the 1850 Census taken on October 23, 1850.  They lived in Linton Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio.  Florus was 37, Julia (listed as Julianna) – age 34.  Their children were Emily (12), Wm R. (10), James E (8), Margaret (4), Sarah E. (3).  Emily is listed as being born in Michigan and the rest in Ohio. (5)

 

The family is also found in the same township in the 1860 census.  By the 1870 census they were living in Tuscarawas Twp in Coshocton County where they were still living in the 1880 census. In addition to the children listed above, the family also included Emma, Nancy and John. (6) 

                                             

 

The nation was being torn apart – the north and south ripped asunder as the War Between the States dawned.  On the day following Christmas in 1861, James House, age 19, enlisted in Company “H” of the 80th regiment of the Ohio Volunteers commanded by Col. Ephraim Eckley.  Two months later the regiment left Ohio and began its trek toward battle in Corinth, Mississippi.  It was near Corinth in April 1862 that James became seriously ill with catarrh of the stomach.  This was a particularly debilitating illness with symptoms of moroseness, weakness, chills, and paleness.  One’s stomach would feel full and sore to the touch, the appetite would be non-existent, yet thirst is great.  In addition to that, there would be bloating and constipation.  James suffered with this illness for the rest of his life.  During war time he was treated in St. Louis and Tennessee hospitals without much relief. (7) (8 )

 

 

March of 1863 saw the 80th regiment moving along the Mississippi River to join General Grant’s forces at Vicksburg where there is a special monument erected in honor of the 80th.  In June of 1864 the men joined with Sherman on the March to the Sea and took part in the Siege of Savannah.  The men took part in many other campaigns as the Great Rebellion started coming to an end.  At some point President Lincoln saw his regiment and it has been reported by his grandson (my father) that James shook hands with the 16th president. (I have been unable to document a time or location that this could have taken place.) (9)  James was honorably discharged on May 27, 1865 in Washington D.C.

 

James married Barbara Shryock in the mid 1860s.  She was born in Guernsey County, Ohio to George Shryock and Abigail Easter about 1843.  Barbara (also listed as Barbary in some documents) and James had one son, Edward, and two daughters, Belle and Lucina. Barbara died on July 10, 1872.  Soon, Frances V. Ogan, was helping James take care of his house and his children.  She gave birth to the first of their eight children in April 1873 – one month prior to their marriage.  The couple married on May 26, 1873 by J.P. Robinson in Washington, Guernsey County, Ohio. (10)  The family included besides Florus Allen (named after his grandfather) b. 21 Apr 1873 – John W. (b. 31 Aug 1874), Alford Elmer (b. about 1878), James W. (b. 20 Jun 1879), Julia Ann (b. 20 Sep 1880 – named after her grandmother), Ella M. (b. 22 Jun 1882), Charles (b. 1884), and Alva Lester (b. 9 May 1886).

 

The family is found in the 1880 Census living in Tuscarawas Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio on June 9, 1880.  This is the only record of Alford E. at age 2 years old as he died at the age of 4. (11)  Charles would only have been recorded in the 1890 census as he died at age 12 in 1896 due to a farm accident.  (12) In 1900 the family is recorded living in Bethlehem Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio on June 14, 1900. James listed his birthplace as Ohio and that his father was born in Connecticut and his mother born in Ohio.  He owned his home and it was not mortgaged.  Frances listed that she was the mother of eight children and only six were living.  In addition to their children living with them, the household also included Mary J. Ruby (listed as Ward).  Mary was James’ granddaughter – child of his daughter Belle and her husband Thomas Ruby. (13)  On April 15, 1910 the family is enumerated as living at 423 N. Eleventh Street in Tuscarawas Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio.  Besides Frances, their son, (Alva) Lester and his wife, Mary (Lucy Besser) together with their son Arthur, were living with them. (14)

 

The family not only had lost two of their sons, Charles and Elmer, but also their oldest daughter, Julia.  She and Percy J. Tuttle had married on Christmas Day 1906.  Almost a year later she died from blood poisoning following childbirth.  The baby lived only a few hours. (15)

 

On February 18, 1915 Frances died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis at the age of 68 years, 2 months, 19 days.  She was buried two days later in Prairie Chapel Cemetery in Roscoe, Coshocton County, Ohio near her daughter. (16)

 

James is found still living in Tuscarawas Twp in the 1920 US Census dated Jan. 8, 1920.  Also in the household are his son, (Alva) Lester, daughter-in-law, Mary Lucy, granddaughter, Georgia and grandson, Jerrold. (17)

 

Soon after that he went back and forth between living with his kids and the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home in Sandusky, Ohio.  His granddaughter, Marie, wrote, “My mother’s father, James House, lived with his kids off and on when he got older and when he couldn’t stand the kids, he would go to the Ohio Vets home in Sandusky.  I think he had T.B. in his later years because when he lived with us (I remember him) Mom used to scald all the dishes he used.” (18 )

 

James passed away at the age of 82 on October 1, 1924 at the home of my grandparents, Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore on West Lafayette Road in Coshocton County.  His obituary stated that he was a member of the United Brethren Church.  He was buried with his wife, Frances, at Prairie Chapel Cemetery.  He left behind four sons, three daughters, three sisters, and numerous grandchildren. (19)

 

My great-grandfather had enough influence on his grandson that he was proud to carry the name James as his middle name in honor of him.  I wish I could see a picture of James in order to see what this man who fought in the civil war looked like.  And to know that he served in the military under my favorite president and one I have studied, is thrilling.

 

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandfather.

 

 

Footnotes:

(1) Information from Florence Wenk Woodard Barrett, descendant of Nelson W. House, son of Allen and Editha House.

(2)  1820 US Census

(3) Related by Descendant of Nelson W. House

(4) Government Land Records (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(5) 1850 US Census (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(6) 1860, 1870, 1880 US Censuses (digitized copies in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(7) James House’s Declaration for an Original Invalid Pension, 6 Sep 1887 (copies from National Archives in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(8 ) Special Pathology and Diagnostics with Therapeutic Hints By Sigmund Raue, C. G. Raue

Published by B. Jain Publishers, 2002

ISBN 8170210798, 9788170210795

Pages 436-427

(found on books.google.com)

(9) 80th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~keller/ovi80/work/index.html

Charles Paul Keller, author of the website (his source is: from Volume 6, Ohio Roster Commission; Official roster of the soldiers of the state of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861 – 1866; Cincinnati, Wilstach, Baldwin & Co. 1886-95.)

(10) Dept. of the Interior; Bureau of Pensions

Certificate No. 418793 (copy from National Archives in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(11) 1880 US Census (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(12) Letter written by Alva Lester House to his niece, Gertrude Amore Shackelford, dated January 25, 1963.  (Copy is owned by Wendy Littrell.)

(13) 1900 US Census (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(14) 1910 US Census (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(15) Newspaper; Coshocton Age; Thursday, November 28, 1907 (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(16) State of Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Death, Number 6761 (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(17) 1920 US Census (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

(18 ) Email from Marie Quirk to Wendy Littrell on Feb. 9, 2000

(19) Coshocton Newspaper (digitized copy in possession of Wendy Littrell)

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This weeks’ Edition of Freaky Friday includes two posts! Enjoy!

As I was reading through the genea-blogs this week, I came across Mystery of Baby Samuel at Little Bytes of Life. This post written by Elizabeth is very poignant and filled with mystery. Read about the connection her toddler daughter has with the headstone of Baby Samuel and perhaps you can also help unravel the mystery! (update: Kathryn at California Genealogical Society and Library Blog is hot on the trail of new information!)

Due to circumstances beyond my control (spending all day at a car dealership and all evening discussing the vehicle sitting in front of our house) – my original 3rd Edition Freaky Friday post will be published next week! 

This week’s edition looks like this -

The older child is my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson.  The younger child – unknown.  As far as I know – no one knows who this is.  My grandfather didn’t have a younger brother.  He his 12 years older than his sister, Eva, and I don’t think my grandfather appears to be of the correct age.  This isn’t a very good scan of the photo but the younger child is dressed like a boy so I don’t think it was a girl.  My thought it could be a cousin or even a friend.  Did people generally include non-family members in photos in the early 1900’s?

My Grandad and this unknown child are dressed like “men”.  They appeared very uncomfortable in these photos – wearing clothes that made them look “old” instead of children. 

I tend to think this photo and another one taken at the same time of the same unknown child with Grandad – are rather odd.

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This morning I received an invitation to join the “Getting to Know You Challenge for Bloggers” in order for those of us in the Genea-Bloggers group to glean more information on each other’s blogs.  There is also the upcoming Carnival of Genealogy 55th Edition – Show and Tell, 5th Edition Smile for the Camera – Crowning Glory, Blog Action Day on October 15th – Poverty, the on-going Genea-Blogger Group Games on Facebook, and my own Freaky Friday challenge.  The meme’s “Stores of Yesteryear” and “The Soundtracks of my Salad Days” have already been written.

And I’m partially done with writing a biography on one of my ancestors for the Group Games.  Looks like some great challenges coming up which give me a chance to flex my writing muscles (as opposed to those leg or arm muscles being used by the athletes at the Olympics!) in order to publish some wonderful posts.

Yesterday I noticed that footnoteMaven wrote an article on Using Family Photographs on Shades of the Departed on how to create a MOO greeting card. This looks like something (as a digital scrapbook artist) I would like to do – which means one more thing to add to my list!

I want to thank the hosts for these carnivals, meme’s, and challenges.  If you have not joined the Genea-Blogger group on Facebook, I urge you to do so.  You aren’t required to participate in any or all of the challenges however the topics do provide inspiration.  If you have tons of documents and photographs that need to be scanned – you are also encouraged to participate in Scanfest happening this coming Saturday.  I won’t be participating as I hope to be car shopping (and buying) on Saturday.

If you have Central European or Irish Ancestry, there are also the 10th Edition of Carnival of Central and European Genealogy hosted by Jessica at Jessica’s GeneaJournal and Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture hosted by Small Leaved Shamrock.

I urge you to give any one of these challenges a look and serious thought to participating!

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Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore home
Coshocton, Ohio
photo owned by Wendy Littrell

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I spent a couple hours yesterday evening on the Rootsweb Social Security Index page in an attempt to check on death dates for people in my Amore family (and extended family, in-laws, out-laws, etc.)  I was able to find dates for over 20 people and make the correct citations for my sources!  I plan on doing more of the same today.

My genea-blogger game stats as of today stand at:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources - I had completed 50 citations and have actually done several more – Platinum Medal

2. Back Up Your Data – have not done any of this yet.

3. Organize Your Research - B. Complete; D. Complete; E. Complete (both adding people to the database and scanning in over 20 documents/photos) – Gold Medal

4. Write! Write! Write! - A. Complete; B. Complete (I’ve participated in both the “Smile for the Camera” – Favorite Photograph; “Carnival of Genealogy – 54th Edition” – Family Language”; “Stores from Yesteryear” (meme); “The Soundtracks of My Salad Days” (meme); as well as Wordless Wednesday, Tuesday Thingers, and have started my own challenge – “Freaky Friday”. C. Complete – I think I’ve completed 3-4 draft mode posts that I publish within a few days of drafting.  Working on currently – D. Write a Brief Biographical Sketch.  Gold Medal

5. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindess - A. Complete; B. Complete (I’ve joined several); C. Complete; E. Complete (Find a Grave). Diamond Medal

I think I’m pretty much on track with my goals – and then some.  I’ve also spent time entering documentation into my research log.  For ease I started with my children since I know pretty much where all legal or offical documents are located or have already entered the information; then myself; my parents and grandparents. If I move from myself backward I find that I have more official documentation and can see exactly what I still need (censuses, death records/certificates; obituaries; baptismal; etc.)

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