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I am so thankful there is such an animal as Google Books! I’ve been able to find tons of information, published genealogies, and even see drawings or photos of ancestral locations and homes. These are books that have been digitized – books that I would have a difficult time finding unless I spent a lot of time and money.

Titles that I have in my “collection” include:

  • Savery and Severy Genealogy (Savory and Savary) by Alfred William Savary published by the Fort Hill Press (Boston), 1905, located at the Wisconsin Historical Society.
  • A Genealogy of the Savery Families (Savory and Savary) by A.W. Savary, assisted by Miss Linda A. Savary published by the Collins Press (Boston), 1893; located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Genealogy of the Lyman Family in Britain and America by Lyman Coleman published in Albany, New York, 1872, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Genealogical Records of Thomas Burnham, the Emigrant by Roderick H. Burnham published The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co. Print, 1884, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Volume LXVII published by the N.E. Historic Genealogical Society (Boston), 1913, located at the Stanford Library.
  • Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts by William Richard Cutter (Ed.), assisted by William Frederick Adams published by Lewis Historical Publishing Company (New York), 1910, located at Harvard College Library.
  • The Genealogy of the Bigelow Family of America by Gilman Bigelow Howe printed by Charles Hamilton (Massachusetts), 1890, located at Harvard College Library.
  • Genealogy of the Loveland Family in the United States of America by J.B. Loveland and George Loveland published by I.M. Keeler & Sons, Printer (Ohio), 1895, located at the Wisconsin Historical Society.
  • Genealogy of the First Seven Generations of the Bidwell Family in America by Edwin M. Bidwell published by Joel Munson’s Sons (New York), 1884, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Glastenbury for Two Hundred Years: A Centennial Discourse by Rev. Alonzo B. Chapin published by Case, Tiffany and Company (Hartford), 1853, located at the Harvard College Library.
  • Historical Sketches and Reminisces of Madison County, Indiana by John L. Forkner and Byron H. Dyson published in Anderson, Ind., 1897, located at the Harvard College Library. (I also own this book.)
  • History of Idaho Vol. III published by the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company (Chicago), 1920, located at the Harvard College Library.
  • A Genealogy of the Appleton Family by W. S. Appleton published by T. R. Marvin & Son (Boston), 1874, located at the Boston Public Library.
  • New England Families Genealogical and Memorial by William Richard Cutter published by Lewis Historical Publishing Company (New York), 1914, located at the Harvard College Library.
  • The Goodrich Family in America by Lafayette Wallace Case published by Fergus Printing Company (Chicago), 1889, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • The Hollister Family of America; Lieut. John Hollister and His Descendants compiled by Lafayette Wallace Case published by Fergus Printing Company (Chicago), 1886, located at the Harvard College Library.
  • The Risley Family History by Edwin H. Risley published by the Grafton Press (New York), 1909, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer by Rev. A. J. Fretz published by The Evergreen News (New Jersey), 1903, located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

If you haven’t searched Google Books yet for your ancestors or a history of the area where they lived, I urge you to do so. You’ll never know what you can uncover!

 

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death certificate image

In 2000, a year after I began researching my family history, I was on vacation at my mother’s in Ohio. During that trip, I realized that I should make sure I had a copy of my birth certificate in case it ever came to pass that I could travel with my husband out of the country requiring a passport. When I was at the Health Department in Xenia, Ohio – county seat of Greene county, I asked if it would be possible to purchase (cheaply) an uncertified death certificate for my maternal grandfather. After all, what would a genealogist (even an amateur one) be without a real document? The lady at the counter was very helpful and produced a copy for me. When she asked if there were any other relatives that had died in Greene county, I realized that I could also get my great-grandfather’s death certificate as well. (I could have bought more but I couldn’t remember dates off the top of my head.) I especially wanted that one in order to get the name of his father. Sadly, I had a lapse in judgment as the information on a death certificate is only as good as the memory and knowledge of the informant.

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Death Certificate for John Lafayette Johnson

  1. The document was stamped UNCERTIFIED COPY – this could not be used for official documentation to receive compensation, benefits, or for legal matters. It does not have a raised seal.
  2. At the top, the document reads that it is from the STATE OF OHIO (names the state), DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (which agency issued the certificate), DIVISION OF VITAL STATISTICS (in charge of birth and death certificates as opposed to checking the cleanliness of restaurants, etc.), CERTIFICATE OF DEATH (not to be confused with a Birth Certificate)
  3. Under place of death – not to be confused with where the decedent was living – the information is recorded as to County: Greene; Registration District is 2471. Under section 3709.01 of the Ohio Revised Code it means a “city or county health district” (Ohio Administrative Code, Chapter 3701-5 Vital Statistics). The file number is 419 (used for file management).
  4. The township is listed as Bath, Village as Fairfield (this location and it’s neighbor, Osborn, merged in later years to become the City of Fairborn). The city is left blank because it was an incorporated area.
  5. The Primary Registration District is left blank indicating that the Registration District was the only one and not part of another.
  6. The Registration Number is 5 (used for file management).
  7. The fields pertaining to an exact location of death (house number, street, ward, hospital) are left blank.
  8. The length of time at the death location is also left blank. If the location had been filled out, it would have listed my grandfather’s address as well as the time of 9 years at the location.
  9. How long in the U.S. if foreign birth was not complete because he was born in the United States.
  10. The fields asking about military service are not filled in – either because the informant (my grandfather) was not asked or the answer was no so it didn’t seem pertinent to fill it in.
  11. Full Name of Deceased is listed as John Lafayette Johnson. I was pleased to see this because so many death certificates have initials or no middle name.
  12. Residence/Usual place of abode was also not completed. Had it been, it would have listed my grandfather’s address of 40 Ohio Street in Fairfield, Ohio.
  13. Sex: Male (self-explanatory)
  14. Color or Race: White (self-explanatory)
  15. Single, Married, Widowed, Divorced: Left blank (he was widowed as my great-grandmother had died 9 years earlier). I don’t know why that wasn’t filled in.
  16. Name of spouse (if married, widowed or divorced: Katie J Johnson
  17. Date of birth: March 2, 1861 (hoping my grandfather knew his father’s birthdate).
  18. Age: (this is inferred as at the time of death) 78 years 2 months 26 days
  19. Trade, profession, or particular kind of work: Fruit merchant (he owned a truck that he used as fruit vendor).
  20. Industry or business in which work was done: Left blank (he was self-employed)
  21. Date deceased last worked at this occupation: left blank (so I have no way of knowing if he was selling fruit up until he became ill)
  22. Total time (years) at this occupation: left blank (did he do this the whole time he lived in Ohio from 1930 or did he also sell fruit when he had lived in Indiana?)
  23. Birthplace (city or town) (state or country): Howard county, Indiana (I do not have any other documentation to prove this information)
  24. Father’s name: George Wilson Johnson (this has been found to be incorrect and my grandfather knew his grandfather so I don’t know how he ended up giving an incorrect answer – unless he said James Wilson Johnson and it was written down wrong)
  25. Father’s place of birth: Galipolis, Ohio (I have more information that places James Wilson Johnson’s birth as Byrd Township in Brown county, Ohio)
  26. Mother’s maiden name: Don’t know (again, I have my grandfather’s type written family history that gives his grandmother’s name as Amanda Mullis so I don’t know if he was not privy to that information prior to his father’s death.)
  27. Mother’s birthplace: Don’t now (see #26)
  28. Signature of the Informant: Glenn R. Johnson (my grandfather did not spell his name with two “n”s and it doesn’t resemble any signature I’ve seen of my his!)
  29. Address (of the informant): Fairfield, Ohio
  30. Burial, Cremation or Removal – Place: Anderson, Ind; May 31, 1939. This indicates that my great-grandfather’s body was to be taken to Anderson, Indiana three days after his death and not buried in Ohio.
  31. Funeral Firm: The Morris Sons Co.
  32. License (of the Funeral home): 1294
  33. Address: Osborn, Ohio
  34. Embalmer: Yes (my great-grandfather was embalmed before he was taken back to Anderson, Indiana)
  35. Filed: May 30, 1939 by Fern O. Routsoung, Registrar (it was filed two days of my great-grandfather’s death)
  36. Date of Death: May 28, 1939
  37. The physician reported that he attended the deceased from January 31, 1939 until the date of death.
  38. The physician last saw the deceased alive on May 27, 1939 – the day prior to his death.
  39. Death was said to have occurred at 10:40 a.m. (this information would come from whomever was with John Lafayette Johnson at the time of his death – probably my grandfather or grandmother)
  40. The principal cause of death: Carcinoma of the Pancreas (pancreatic cancer) and the date of onset is listed as six months ago (indicating that he had begun feeling the affects of the cancer in January of 1939)
  41. There were no contributory causes listed.
  42. The section for injury, etc. is left blank.
  43. The answer to was disease related to his occupation was no
  44. It was signed by T.H. Winans, M.D. on May 29, 1939 (the physician who had treated him on the day after death)

 

johnson_john_katieJohn and Katie (Blazer) Johnson before her death in 1930

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John Lafayette Johnson on his birthday in March 1939 – almost 3 months before he passed away
He was already starting to show signs of illness especially the weight loss

 

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52ancestors

Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small issued a challenge to the geneablogging world recently: to write a blog post weekly on one ancestor. This could be a photo, a story, biography, etc. To read her challenge please go to Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Editha Bigelow, born on April 8, 1791 in Brookfield, Vermont, is my three times great-grandmother on my father’s side. Her parents, Eli Bigelow and Anna Freeman, were married on September 10, 1778 in Brookfield (Source: Vermont, Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, Montpelier, Vital Records, 1760-2003; Ancestry.com.) by Rev. Elijah Lyman.

Editha was their seventh child preceded by Asa (born 1779), Anna (born 1781), Amasa (born 1783), Asa (born 1785), Mergit (born 1787), and Eli (born 1788) and followed by Susanna (born 1793) and Seth Gilbert.  Editha’s oldest sibling Asa died at less than 2 years old, and as was more common in that time, the parents went on to name another child Asa several years later. The father, Eli, died on March 22, 1836 in Chatham, Connecticut (Source:index, FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F7CC-TPX : accessed 05 Aug 2013, Eli Bigelow, 22 Mar 1836; citing reference p 102, FHL microfilm 3089.) and is buried at Mount Parnassus Burying Ground (Source: Find a Grave, Memorial #36942989). Anna’s date of death is unknown.

At the age of 21, Editha married Allen House on June 15, 1812 in East Hampton, Connecticut. Her new husband was 2 months her junior. The couple had five children: Florus Allen (my 2nd great-grandfather; born in 1813), Nelson W. (born 1815), Amasa (born 1817), Eli (born 1824), and Abigail (born 1826). Due to the seven years between Amasa’s and Eli’s birth, I suspect that there was at least one if not two other children who were born and died – or perhaps miscarried and/or stillborn – between them. The family had moved to New York and then to Milford, Michigan by the mid-1830s, where they remained until their deaths. Allen died on September 1, 1845 and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Milford (Source: Find a Grave, Memorial #55024034).  Editha died on October 20, 1865 and was buried next to her husband (Source: Find a Grave, Memorial #55024034).

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(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 9: “Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.”

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This is my paternal grandmother’s death certificate.  Ella Amore (nee House) was born on June 22, 1882 in Ohio. Her father is listed as James House and her mother is (incorrectly) listed as Fannie Ogden (correct name: Frances Virginia Ogan). Gramma was 64 years and 11 days of age when she passed away at 5 a.m. on July 3, 1946 at her home located at 684 John Street in Coshocton, Ohio. She died from breast cancer which she had been battling for 2 years. Even though my grampa, Lloyd Amore, was still living, my uncle Gail (William Gail Amore), oldest son of the family, was the informant. Gramma was buried three days later in the Prairie Chapel Cemetery in Coshocton.

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Gravestone in Prairie Chapel Cemetery for Lloyd W. and Ella M. Amore

(Photo of gravestone taken by Robert Shackelford – cousin – and a copy sent to Wendy Littrell)

(Image of Death Certificate downloaded from FamilySearch.org website)

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Since I’ve lost quite a bit of information that I had entered in my family data program (Family Tree Maker 2011) due to the computer crash on Election Day, the thought of recreating everything I’ve lost has overwhelmed me. (Public Service Announcement: Don’t let this happen to you! Back up! Back up! Back up! And then make sure a copy is in the cloud!)

Some of that lost data was from cemetery information from Find a Grave. My plan of attack – is to begin alphabetically in the list of individuals in my data program – and search for their date of death (if I don’t already have it), cemetery location, and other pertinent information. Needless to say, two individuals in and I’ve discovered children of a couple I didn’t know existed complete with birth and death information. I always finish off by entering the Find a Grave Memorial Number in my database – then I know that I saw the record on Find a Grave.

Generally, as I locate the burial/cemetery information – especially if it’s in Ohio – I go to FamilySearch and search for a death record. Not only will that give me a second source of documentation, but sometimes it gives a burial date and perhaps a more specific death date than what is listed on Find a Grave.

(Public Domain Image downloaded from FreeStockPhotos.biz)

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Jacob Marion Wilt is my great grand uncle. He is the oldest child born to my 2nd great-grandparents, Isreal Isaac Wilt and Christena Nash and oldest brother of my maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Napolean Wilt.  Jacob was born on February 21, 1858 in Indiana. On August 6, 1881 Jacob and Scena Gibson were married in Newcastle, Henry County, Indiana. They had a son, Russell Ray Wilt, born September 6, 1890 in Newcastle. The family is found in the 1900 Census living in Jefferson township in Henry County.  They reported that they had been married 18 years. By the 1910 Census, Russell was already out on his own.  Jacob and Scena were living in Sulphur Springs in Henry County.

And there begins the mystery.  It was reported by a distant cousin (Jacob is their great grand uncle also) that Jacob and Scena moved to California. I have not located either one – however, according to the 1920 Census, Russell is married to Ferna (LNU) with a young daughter, Thelma, and living in Modesto, California. In 1930 the Russell Ray Wilt family is in Oakland, California and in 1940 they have moved to Pierce County, Washington.

There is a Jacob Wilt listed in the 1920 and 1930 Censuses in San Bernadino, California – but his age is off by a couple of years and the listing for his father’s birth place is not Virginia. In the 1920 Census, that particular Jacob reports that he is divorced and in the 1930 Census, it shows he is widowed. I need to pinpoint the exact locations in the enumeration districts where both this Jacob and also Russell were living. If they are close by, then these two “different” Jacobs may just be one and the same. I haven’t located any further information on Scena (whose name has also been spelled Sena and Cena and mistakenly reported as Lena – depending on who was reading the writing!) nor on Russell’s wife, Ferna, or their daughter, Thelma. The Wilt branch of the family still living in and around New Castle, Indiana, didn’t seem to know any further information.

Sources: All Census information came from www.familysearch.org indexes.  Jacob and Scena’s marriage information came from the same website – the “Indiana Marriages, 1811-1959″ database (digital image).

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John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer

My maternal great-grandparents (on my grandfather’s side), John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer, were married on July 4, 1883, in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He was a few months over 22 years old and she was close to 19. Since both were “of age” according to the laws of the time, neither needed a parental signature.

The couple was just shy of celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary when Katie died on May 20, 1930 (trivia: my wedding anniversary is on the anniversary of her death – May 20!).

Below is a picture of the couple in older age.

(Source 1: Anderson, Madison, Indiana, 1880-1920, Book 1, Page 393; County Clerk’s Office, 16 East 9th, 2nd House, Box 19, Anderson, Indiana, 46016. FamilySearch – Indiana Marriages Database

Source 2: Glen R. Johnson, Sr., personal genealogy notes, in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use)

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