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There are a good number of my maternal ancestors and collateral families who moved to, were born in, or resided in Indiana for quite awhile. I have several databases I use in order to gather leads or to find records.

Indiana Room of the Anderson (Madison County) Public Library. This is where I find Cemetery Records for 98 cemeteries within that county. Obituary Record index from the Anderson Daily Bulletin (1921-1967).

The Muncie / Delaware County Digital Resource Library has enabled me to find court records, obituaries, funeral home information and burial information on my ancestors that lived in Delaware County.

Indiana Marriages (1811-1959) from Family Search Record Search has recently been updated and has enabled me to locate several more marriage records.

The General Indiana database listing and the Localities in Indiana database listing on Cyndi’s List has also yielded results.

When I am digging for more information, I first look to see if that county or town has an online genealogical presence, if there is an online genealogy database at the public library in that location, if I can find court records or online obituaries. I use Google as my search engine and while I’m there, I check Google Books for county Histories, Biographies, genealogical quarterlies, and other digitized books or pamphlets that could include the researched ancestor.

Once I’ve found a listing for an obituary or death, I can request a copy from the genealogy society or library at that location – usually for a small fee. If the name is spelled differently than what I have listed, I can do further searching on Find A Grave, Rootsweb, or other genealogy databases.

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Since this post was published, I’ve located more information – see below for the update!

A wealthy man and a postmaster
An argument over a ditch
A revolver came out and several shots fired
Some of them never hit
A shed to hide
A suicide

The story of the attempted murder of John James Johnson by Coleman Hawkins in a nutshell.  Just who were these men?  Were they more than just neighbors?

John James Johnson
John J. Johnson, oldest son and third child of Jacob and Ann (Shields) Johnson, was born on October 8, 1821 in Byrd Township, Brown County, Ohio.  He moved with his parents and siblings to Rush County, Indiana by 1840 and married Dolly Mullis on March 4, 1848 in Union Township of that county.  Dolly was the sister of Amanda Mullis, wife of John’s brother, James Wilson Johnson. 

The couple were enumerated in the 1850 US Census living in Marion Twp in Rush County with their one year old daughter, Ann M. Johnson.  John, 27, listed his occupation as a Farmer.  They aren’t easily found in the 1860 Census but they had moved to Stoney Creek, Madison County, Indiana by 1870.  Two children are living with them – Rosa, age 12, and John, age 7.  Dolly’s siblings, Sophia (age 55) and Thomas (age 42) are also residing in their household.  By 1880 Rosa had married and was widowed.  She and her son, Edward Milburn, age 3, were living with John and Dolly as well as brother, John. 

Elizabeth Blazer
Elizabeth was born to John and Mary Ann (Nelson) Blazer in the mid-1840s.  She was enumerated with her parents on the 1850 Census living in Fall Creek, Madison County, Indiana.  For a long time she was “missing”.  She would have been more than 20 in the 1860 Census and probably married, yet the name of her husband was unknown.  Unbeknownst to me – I had found her in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses – I just didn’t know it yet!

Coleman Hawkins
This man was born about 1832 in Virginia.  I only knew about him through newspaper articles and biographical data from “The History of Madison County”.  He is living in Stoney Creek Twp, Madison County, Ohio in the 1870 Census.  His residence was adjacent to the John James Johnson family.  He had a wife and eight children.  In the 1880 Census, Mr. Hawkins and his family are living in the same spot.  Seven of the older children are still living there along with two that had been born since the 1870 Census.  Coleman Hawkins would not see another census.

The Incident
Historical sketches and reminiscences of Madison county, Indiana (John L. Forkner, Byron H. Dyson; Publisher: Forkner; 1897; pages 965-968) recounts that Coleman Hawkins, a very wealthy man, had been a resident of Stoney Creek township for a number of years and lived close to the postmaster, John J. Johnson.  The Midland Railway – near Johnson’s Crossing, was in the vicinity of their homes.  Hawkins and Johnson had maintained a good relationship for many years until 1888.  At that time a ditch had been constructed that ran through the neighborhood.  On December 5, 1888 Johnson took a mail pouch to the train and saw Mr. Hawkins there.  Once the train had left the station, Hawkins inquired whether his neighbor could stop the construction of the ditch.  Apparently similar conversations had occurred prior for Johnson told him that he’d already answered that question.  Hawkins obviously wasn’t happy with that answer and pulled a revolver on Johnson, who turned and walked away – possibly not believing that the other man would really fire at him.  Yet Coleman Hawkins did just that.  

“. . .  the shot taking effect in the back just left of the spinal column and below the shoulder blade. Johnson ran into the stationhouse and closed the door after him. As he shut the door another pistol shot was fired, the ball just passing the door. Hawkins then rushed to the window, about six feet from the door, broke out a pane of glass, and fired four or five additional shots, two of which took effect in Mr. Johnson’s body, one on the left side of the face and the other in the forearm. One shot passed through the stove pipe in the room and another through the ceiling. Johnson now opened the door and ran out past Hawkins into a field that led to his residence. Hawkins, having emptied the chambers of the revolver, drew a second one and resumed pursuit of his victim. He fired four additional shots, one of which lodged in Johnson’s right shoulder. Four bullet holes were found in his coat in different places where his body had escaped injury. Johnson ran until his strength was fast failing, when he turned upon his pursuer and clinched him, forcing him to the earth.”

At that time Rosa Johnson, John’s daughter, ran toward the two farmers after she had heard the gunshots.  Without thought to her own safety, she wrangled the gun out of the hands of Coleman Hawkins.  Another neighborhood resident had heard the commotion and came to the two men.  Both men agreed to let each other go.

What should have been the end of the violence – was not.  Apparently Hawkins was either still enraged or looking toward the future of being tried for attempted murder, that he entered a barn on his farm and shot himself.  His wife and son, Rufus, had tried to follow him when they saw him go toward the barn but they didn’t reach him in time.

The ditch that seemed to lay at the center of the quarrel had been awarded by the court so that Johnson could drain his land.  He had requested Hawkins give him an outlet for three to four years but had been refused.  So Johnson had turned to the court and the court had forced the construction of the ditch through Hawkins’ land.

It was also discovered that the pistols that Hawkins had used to fire upon Johnson and to commit suicide had been purchased the day prior to the incident at the railway station.

The conclusion of the story read,  “The remains of Coleman Hawkins were interred in the Anderson cemetery, over which was erected a handsome granite shaft that can be plainly seen from the Alexandria road as the traveler turns to the right after passing out of the iron bridge crossing White river.  The widow of Coleman Hawkins yet resides on the old farm, and has earned for herself the reputation of being one of the best farm managers in the county, having carefully preserved the fortune left her by her husband.”

George Hawkins
The son of Coleman Hawkins born about 1860 ended up marrying the niece of John J. and Dolly (Mullis) Johnson on July 30, 1881.  Olive Belle Johnson was born in August 1865 to James Wilson and Amanda (Mullis) Johnson.  The couple had three children – Urmine, Vesta and Lucy.  It is believed that George died between 1884 and 1887 since Olive married again.

John Lafayette Johnson and Katie Blazer
My maternal great-grandparents resided in and married in Madison County, Indiana.  Katie’s father, Franklin Blazer, had died when she was a small girl.  I found her uncles, John and George Blazer but her aunts – Mary Jane and Elizabeth still remained elusive.  Or were they? 

I re-read a letter my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson (son of John and Katie), had sent to my cousin’s mother.

glen_letter

“My uncle on my mother side Uncle Cole Hawkins shot Uncle John Johnson and then killed himself.  My mother was a young girl at the time this happened and she worked for Aunt Lib Hawkins and Uncle Cole.  Uncle John Johnson did not die from being shot but he carried the bullet in his body until he died several years later.”

Somehow Coleman Hawkins and his wife, “Lib” (Elizabeth), were related to my grandfather through his mother.  Could Elizabeth Hawkins be Franklin Blazer’s sister, Elizabeth?  I didn’t have enough documentation to say for sure but I was going on the assumption that she was.  I couldn’t find any other relationship other than through the Johnson side and the marriage of my grandfather’s aunt to the Hawkins’ son, George.

I had spent some time earlier in my research to dig up information on the children of Coleman and Elizabeth in case I could verify any other relationships.

Mary Jane Blazer
Then I ran across a listing in the 1870 US Census for an “MJ Webb” living next door to Franklin’s brother’s family.  “MJ” and her husband, Marion, were enumerated with four children.  The only reason this jumped out at me is because in the George and Amanda Blazer household is “Jas Webb, blacksmith”.  Going back to the Historical sketches and reminiscences of Madison county, Indiana, I located an entry about Jasper Webb as a blacksmith.  The Blazer family obviously had close ties with the Webb family.  Could “MJ” Webb actually be Mary Jane Blazer?  The 1880 Census for the Webb family lists Marion Webb, age 40, living with his wife, Mary J. Webb, age 38, and children, Tena, Rufus, Lydia, Wilson, and Horace.  By the 1900 Census, Mary J. Webb is widowed and lists herself as a mother of 6 children – all living.  Living with her is her son, Horace, and daughter, Maud.  Mary J. Webb is also found in the 1910 Census and living with her is her daughter, Maud, with husband and small daughter.  The last census she is found is the 1920 Census living with her widowed son, Rufus.  The Indiana Room at the Anderson Public Library shows that Mary J. Webb’s obituary was published in the June 7, 1929 edition of the local newspaper.

Tena Stanley
I’ve had a photograph in my possession for quite sometime of Elizabeth Hawkins and Tena Stanley.  Trying to figure out how Tena Stanley fit into my family tree, I’d contacted the Indiana Room for Tena’s obituary.  They emailed me four news accounts.  I went back over each one.  The one published in the Anderson Herald on April 8, 1942 listed her survivors as one brother, Horace Webb, and a sister, Maud Peterson. BINGO! 

tena_stanley

That was more documentation that Tena Stanley had once been Tena Webb.  And with the picture I had of Tena and Elizabeth – that led me to believe that Tena and Elizabeth were related – which it appeared that Elizabeth was Tena’s aunt – sister of Tena’s mother, Mary Jane Blazer Webb.  

tenastanley_elizabethhawkins

So the tangled family tree looks like this:
Katie J. Blazer: My maternal great-grandmother’s uncle by marriage, Coleman Hawkins, who was married to her father’s sister, Elizabeth Blazer, shot her husband’s (John Lafayette Johnson) uncle, John James Johnson.  My great-grandfather’s aunt, Olive Belle Johnson, married Coleman and Elizabeth’s son, George HawkinsTena Webb married for the last time to Nelson Stanley, and was the niece of Elizabeth Blazer Hawkins and Franklin Blazer and first cousin to my great-grandmother, Katie J. Blazer.

So what happened to John James Johnson?  He lived four more years after being shot by Coleman Hawkins, dying from heart disease in an instant. 

UPDATE: Not only did Olive B. Johnson marry into the Hawkins family, but so did her cousin, John Marshall Johnson, son of John James Johnson - the man Coleman Hawkins shot!  Marshall – as he was known – married Hawkins’ daughter, Rosa Jane.  There was probably quite a bit of tension in the Marshall and Rosa Johnson household after the shooting incident – yet the couple, who married on December 17, 1881, remained married until Marshall’s death in 1921.  Their union produced seven children – Walter, Roy, Grover, Alta, James Leroy, Georgia and Arris. 

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(Continued from The Box)

After I had opened the box, unwrapped the tissue paper to find my mom’s baby sister’s bonnet and removed the tissue paper, I saw a calendar at the bottom of the box.

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Carefully I lifted out the Calendar from 1927 and slowly flipped the pages.  When I found the month of June, there were notes on the page in my grandmother’s handwriting.

LMM161

June 9: Baby born – 10 a.m. hospital – 3# 4 – Lois Evelyn

June 13: 2#s 5

June 16: I came home – left baby

June 25: Fabitis

Week of June 26: Baby gaining back

LMM162

July 9: 3-4 1/2

July 15: I came home

July 16: Baby home – 3# 6

July 23: 3# 12 1/2

July 30: Same

LMM167

August 1: 3# 12 1/2 oz

August 6: 4 – 3

August 13:  4 – 7

August 20: 4 – 12 1/2

August 27: 4 – 7

August 30: 4 – 5

LMM163

September 3: 4 – 7

September 10: 4 – 8

September 12: cow’s milk

September 15: 4 – 13

September 17: 4 – 7

September 19: 4 – 5

September 22: SMA, 4 – 4

September 28: Back to hospital at 9 pm

September 30: Died at 5 pm

LMM164

October 2: We buried our dear baby 3 months, 3 weeks

October 18: At Hospital

October 20:  Operated for appendicitis & perineal op

October 22: Real ill

Lois_Evelyn_Johnson_1985155_1393

Lois Evelyn Johnson’s Death Certificate

Birth: June 9, 1927
Death: Sept 30, 1927 at Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio
Normal residence was in Fairfield (now part of Fairborn), Greene County, Ohio
Female, White, Single
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio
Age at Death: 3 months, 4 days (this is incorrect just based on dates)
Father: Glenn (spelling incorrect) Johnson, born Anderson, Indiana
Mother: Vesta Wilt, born Noblesville, Indiana
Informant: Glen R. Johnson, Fairfield, Ohio
Death occurred at 6 pm
Cause of Death: 7 mo. premature birth; summer diarrhea, malnutrition
Place of Burial: Fairfield Cemetery, Oct 3rd 1927

It appears – based on calendar notes – that my grandmother was very vigilant about checking Lois’ weight and even changing what type of nutrition she was receiving.  Lois probably started out being breast-fed and then when she failed to gain enough, was switched to cow’s milk.  She did appear to gain some weight but then started to taper off again.  My grandmother then switched her to SMA Formula but that didn’t seem to help.  I believe the X’s at certain dates of Lois’ life probably indicated either the beginning of diarrhea or a dr. appointment. 

Talking to my mom a year ago, I discovered that Lois had been able to go home from the hospital.  I was always under the impression that she had to remain there.  Mom had told me that her baby sister had been put next to a heat source in order to keep her body temperature up. 

Lois Evelyn didn’t remain at Fairfield Cemetery.  Years later a family had lost their children in a fire (or some other calamity) and a call went out through the community for burial plots or money to help bury the children.  My grandparents gave up their plots and decided to remove their baby daughter to the cemetery they had chosen would be their final resting place.  Mom had told me several times the gruesome tale of how my grandmother had wanted to see her baby daughter one more time after she was disinterred and asked that her casket be opened.  Apparently she was pretty well preserved until the air touched her remains.  Lois was then interred – permanently – at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in New Carlisle, Ohio.  Almost 40 years after she died, her parents joined her in eternal rest (in 1984 and 1985).  Now, though unfortunate, most of the family is together – lying close together in a very peaceful setting: Lois’ oldest brother and her next to oldest sister (my mother).  My aunt, the oldest daughter, is buried several miles away in the community’s Catholic cemetery.

Medical technology has come such a long way since 1927.  If Lois Evelyn had been born within the last 10-15 years, she would probably be well cared for and received the right nutrition.  Her gastric distress was probably due to her prematurity and she may have been placed on a feeding tube or receive IV nutrients. 

My grandmother spoke of Lois Evelyn often.  She never stopped mourning her last born child.  She had shown me one picture of the little one lying on a blanket.  I’ve not seen that photo again.  The picture I do have, I will not post.  It is her final picture – in her casket at her funeral.  A banner reading “Our Baby” is draped above her on the lid.  She was very, very tiny.  And for all these years, she’s been an angel.

P5130629

Rest in Peace, Lois Evelyn

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Back in May when my sister and I were going through our Mom’s things, I found the box (above) in an old footlocker.  There isn’t a footlocker, crate, or box that can keep me out when I think there might be a treasure inside.  So I opened the box.

P9100725

Inside there was something wrapped in tissue paper.  And I glimpsed something pink as well.  Obviously it was something very fragile or old that needed to be kept insulated somehow.  So then I unwrapped the treasure.

P9100722It was a very small bonnet.  I exclaimed to those who were around me that I bet it had been Mom’s baby sister’s.  Would there be more clues beneath the tissue paper in the bottom of the box?

 

P9100723Yes!  A calendar!  And not just any calendar.  It was from 1927.  The year my grandparents’ youngest daughter, Lois Evelyn, was born – and died.

As I carefully perused the calendar, I saw my grandmother’s handwritten notes on different dates.  What unfolded was truly heartbreaking.

To Be Continued in The Calendar

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Georgia Anna Amore is somewhat of a mystery to me.  She was the daughter of George Washington Amore (my g-grandfather’s brother) and Catherine (Katie) Burden.  Born on January 21, 1895 in Plainfield, Coshocton County, Ohio, Georgia was G.W.’s and Katie’s 5th child and 2nd daughter.  One brother was born after her.

Georgia married no less than 4 times (Ottis Kazee, John Albert, LeRoy Bennett, and William Smith) and possibly 5 (Unknown Ostler or Osler). 

mary kazee

Georgia’s first daughter (and only child from her first marriage to Otis Kazee), died at the age of 13 months from pneumonia.  Mary Katherine Kazee’s obituary seems to indicate that Georgia and Otis were not living together any more.

mary kazee obit

It seems odd that the newspaper states that she was 13 months old (it was the Jan. 12, 1915 edition of the Coshocton Tribune) yet lists her birthdate as the month before (Dec. 1914) – even her death certificate states she was born in Dec. 1914.  Georgia was the informant so it would seem logical that she would know how old her daughter was.  Georgia also lists her own birthplace as Ohio.

georgia amore smith 1920

The 1920 Census (above) show Georgia and her second husband, John Albert, living in Tuscarawas Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio.  They had been married almost 5 years and had one daughter, Velma, age 3 years and 9 months.  One son, George Woodrow, born on Oct. 3, 1918 died on Nov. 21, 1918 (a little over a month old) of “improper nutrition”. The other 3 children (Nellie, Grace and John) were from John’s previous marriage to Elva P.  

Gorgia_Amore_1984536_194

In the May 23, 1916, June 17, 1919, and May 16, 1921 editions of the Coshocton Tribune, John had posted this notice: “I will not be responsible for any debts incurred by my wife, Georgia Albert.”  In the March 15, 1917 edition of the same newspaper there were two different postings.  One reads:

Says Hubby Was Extremely Cruel
In the matter of John A. Albert Vs. Georgia Albert asking a divorce, the answer and cross petition of the defendent was held Wednesday in probate court.
In her cross petition the defendent alleges extreme cruelty in that about six months after the birth of their child, “plaintiff came into the room where she was sleeping and while sharpening a butcher knife said he felt like cutting defendent’s d—- head off; and struck her with his fist, and pulled her out of bed.” Other instances of alleged cruelty are also cited.

The next posting reads:

Wants Divorce
Alleging that his wife was guilty of neglect of duty, that she struck him with a rocker and a cream pitcher and stabbed him with a fork so violently that the handle was broken, John A. Albert brot suit in probate court Tuesday against Georgia Albert asking a divorce and temporary injunction restraining her from interfering with his management of the household until the case should be heard. The injunction was allowed. The couple were married Oct. 1, 1915, and one child was born of the marriage. Albert was married previously and has a child by the first marriage. He alleges that his present wife threatened it’s life. George D. Klein represents the plaintiff.

Yet the couple remained married at least until about 1921 and had two more daughters, Betty and Winifred, and a son, Charles.  Velma is not seen again after this census and is believed to have died prior to 1930.

Sometime between 1921 and 1926, after Georgia and John divorced, she married Leroy Bennett.  Their first son, Robert Leroy Bennett, was born on Apr. 24, 1926 in Fayette County, Ohio.  He died four months later on Aug. 10, 1926 of malnutrition.  Leroy listed Georgia’s birthplace as Blaine, Kentucky on the death certificate.

robert bennett death

The next son, Thomas J. Bennett, born Mar. 2, 1928, lived until he was 15 months old.  The cause of death was listed as petroleum poisoning.  This time Leroy listed Georgia’s birthplace as Ohio.

thomas bennett death

The couple had one more known son, Kenneth Bennett, born in 1929 and living to adulthood.

Georgia, age 35, is found on the 1930 Census living on her own in Madison Twp, Greenfield, Madison County, Ohio.  She was enumerated as Head of household, divorced, born in Kentucky (?) and with three children: Charles Albert (son with John Albert) – age 8, born in Ohio; Eileen Ostler (daughter with Unknown Ostler) – age 6, born in Ohio; and Kenneth Bennett, age 8 months, born in Ohio.

georgia amore bennett 1930

Daughter, Betty Albert, age 9, was living with Georgia’s sister, Bertha, and her husband, John Woodward, in Linton Twp, Plainfield Village, Coshocton County, Ohio.  Winifred isn’t found – but she is listed as married and a survivor later in Georgia’s obituary. 

Sometime after the 1930 Census, Georgia married William Smith.  The couple had three known children: James, Paul and Gerald.  William died in 1954 and the couple were still married.  Georgia died on December 23, 1973 at Community Hospital in Springfield, Ohio.  Her obituary ran in the Hillsboro, Ohio Press Gazette the following day.  It reads:

Georgia Anna Smith
Georgia Anna Smith, 78, Greenfield, died at 1:30 p.m. yesterday at Community Hospital, Springfield. She was a member of the Plainfield, O., Baptist Church and a Gold Star Mother.
She was born Jan. 21, 1895, the daughter of George and Catherine Burden Amore, at Plainfield.
She married William Smith, who died in April of 1954.
She is survived by seven children, Mrs. Clarence (Winifred) Summer of Springfield, James W. Smith, serving with the U.S. Army at Ft. Lee, Va., and Mrs. Arthur (Betty) Payne, Mrs. Herman (Eileen) Daugherty, Kenneth Bennett, Paul Smith and Gerald Smith, all of Greenfield; 36 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
One son, Charles Albert, was killed during World War II, on Oct. 6, 1944. She also was predeceased by six children who died in infancy, two other children, four brothers and a sister.
Services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Murray Funeral Home, Greenfield. Rev. Noble Miller officiating and burial at Greenfield Cemetery.
Friends may call at the funeral home after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

She delivered a total of 16 children – five of those who died are known (Mary Katherine Kazee, Robert Leroy Bennett,  Thomas J. Bennett; Velma Albert, and George Woodrow Albert.  Her son Charles died in the War.  Only seven survived her upon her death.  There are still three unaccounted children.  Not only does it appear that Georgia lived a life of “drama” and engaged in volatile relationships but she had several children who died.  I wonder if she ever suffered from depression or post-partum depression.  

I have no photos of Georgia nor any information about her descendents – other than from her daughter, Betty (from husband John Albert).  I’d like to find out about all the other children she bore as well as the husbands who divorced her.  So that is the end of Georgia’s story until I can do further research.

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I had intended to write a series of posts on Wading Into the Unknown (Death, Dying and the Legal System) – however, I’m changing my focus a little bit. Much of what I had thought about writing was too personal.  Therefore, I’ll dispense with that and give some things that I’ve learned as I dealt with my mother’s health crisis, death and all that stuff that comes afterwards.

  1. Make sure your loved one (parent, in-laws, grandparents, spouse) has a LEGAL will.  Not a form book they have filled out.  Not something they’ve written.  Not something they’ve videotaped.  They need to see an attorney and have one drawn up!  And if you haven’t done this yet – let your fingers do the walking TODAY!
  2. Do NOT under any circumstances make the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies – your estate!  This complicates things like you would not believe!  Make sure your loved one has listed their spouse, surviving children or grandchildren, just SOMEONE!
  3. And if you really want to make sure your loved one’s estate (or your’s) stays out of probate – make sure all property (real estate, property, cars, etc.) is Transferred On Death.  Bank accounts should be Paid On Death.  If not – the whole world can find out how much you (or your loved one) was worth at death.  Probate records are open to the public.
  4. Have your loved one make a list of items in their home along with who they are to go to.  Do not under any circumstances write something like “if they don’t want it, sell it.”  (If you do #1 this will not happen – however, if you don’t want Brother A to get the antique toy truck and you want it to go to your grandson – you better put it in writing.)
  5. And for this – I’m talking directly to you – start cleaning out all that “stuff” you’ve been keeping.  Do you use it?  Have you used it recently (like the last 6 months – 1 year)?  Does it still have a use?  Does anyone want it?  Each time something comes in – something must go out.
  6. Keep items that go together – together!  It is very frustrating to clean out one room and either trash an object or send to charity only to find several days later in another room a part that went with Object #1! 
  7. If you do #1 – have an attorney draw up a legal will – make sure that you (or your loved one) makes it clear who the executor (or executrix – if it’s a woman) is and that they do not have to post a bond.
  8. Review and update your will as situations change – you sell your home, you add or subtract insurance policies, etc.
  9. Keep ALL important documents – insurance policy numbers, safe deposit box information, bank account information in a safe location – at least all in one location – along with where the actual policies are. Do not put one thing here, the other in a another closet, etc.  Make it very clear if a policy is still in force or if that annuity is still active.
  10. Ask – or write down – final wishes.  Just because you’ve mentioned it (or heard it from loved ones) in passing, doesn’t mean it will be remembered or executed.  Where exactly will the final resting place be? 

Yes, these are difficult things to do or talk about.  Some people are afraid if they bring it up to their parents, it will appear as if they are greedy or fishing for how much money or possessions they will receive.  Alleviate that concern by letting your loved one know that you don’t need to know that information – just that it’s done.  Explain the ramifications if these items above aren’t taken care of.

  1. The estate will go to Probate
  2. The person who they expect to execute the estate probably will not be appointed unless they happen to live right there. (Some states will not allow an out-of-state resident to execute the estate).
  3. All tangible and intangible possessions and property will be appraised and sold in order to pay off debts, the attorney, the administrator, and then dispersed to the family – the way the law of the state requires.
  4. Arguments can ensue over who should get the china, the linens, the silver, or even that dusty old statue that has sat on top of the buffet forever.

I hope some of these suggestions have helped – or at least begin a conversation.

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This is a list of my ancestors who immigrated to America.

Adam Goul: My 4th g-grandfather.  About 1763 from Germany to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Adam was a young boy traveling onboard ship with his mother, father – Frederick, and a sister.  All but Adam died on the voyage.

Adam Lutz: My 5th g-grandfather.  (father-in-law of Adam Goul) about 1749 from Rotterdam on the Lydia.  (source: Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Baptisms from the Church Book of German Reformed Church of Philadelphia)

Jacob Blazer (or Blaser): My 5th g-grandfather.  Came from Baden (German) via Holland late 1700s and settled in the Shenandoah Valley.  Traveled to Gallia County, Ohio and settled there by 1803. (source: Blazer Family History, credited to Dan Blazer and Aileen Blazer Rush – no date given)

James Arbuckle: My 6th g-grandfather.  Born Glasgow, Scotland and died in Virginia.  (source: Jacqueline Ann Richardson – no supporting documentation)

John Madison: My 9th g-grandfather. Born in England about 1620, died in Virginia.  (source: Kenneth Soper – no supporting documentation)

Johannes Kohler (Caylor): My 4th g-grandfather.  Born in Germany in mid 1700s, immigrated to Philadelphia on ship Britannia in August 1767. (source: paper sent by Ann Hastings from a paper received by Dr. Truman Caylor in a letter to Evelyn Caylor from a church paper.)

Johannes Kuntzi: My 6th g-grandfather.  Surname later changed to Kinsey.  Born in Switzerland about 1724 and died about 1761 in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  (source: Robert Mark Sharp “The Kinsey Family”)

Hans Peter Wampler: My 6th g-grandfather.  Born about 1722 in France and died in Frederick County, Maryland.  Lived in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania by Sep 1743 when he married Anna Maria Brenneissen (also born in Germany). (source: World Family Tree – no supporting documentation)

John Miller: My 6th g-grandfather.  Born in France in 1724 and was in Somerset County, Pennsylvania by Jan 1848 when he married Magdalena Lehman. (source: Rose Patrick – no supporting documentation)

Christian Yoder: My 6th g-grandfather.  Born in Bern, Switzerland in 1722 and was in Berks County, PA. by 1752.  (source: Greg Raven, Blickensderfer and related families – no supporting documentation)

Barbara Beiler: (Christian Yoder’s wife) My 6th g-grandmother.  Also born in Bern, Switzerland about 1723. (source: Rose Patrick – no supporting documentation)

Unknown Amore: My 3rd g-grandfather.  Born in England and was in New York by 1828 when my 2nd g-grandfather, William Amore, was born.  (source: 1880 US Census, Franklin County, Coshocton County, Ohio, Enumeration District No. 45 – William Amore lists his father’s birthplace as England)

Peter Werts: My 5th g-grandfather.  Born 1737 probably in Germany and married in 1758 in Maryland. 

Rosina Feurstein: My 5th g-grandmother.  Baptised in a Alsace, France and was married by 1768 in Maryland. Immigrated with her parents, Nicholas & Anna Catherina (Nonnenmacher) on the ship “Peggy”, captained by James Abercombie, Master.  Arrived in Philadelphia from Rotterdam (where they left after fleeing Alsace) on September 24, 1753.  (source: The Firestone Family History and German Pioneers to America, Passenger Listss)

Benjamin Maple: My 7th g-grandfather.  Immigrated from Ipswich, England in 1864 on the ship “Friendship”.  Ended up in Barbados as an indentured servant for four years.  Afterwards, he went to New Jersey.  This man and none of his descendents ever owned slaves. (source: Mark Freeman, Mostly Southern, no supporting documentation)

Those individuals that I have no supporting documentation for will have to be researched further until evidence is found of their immigration, marriages, deaths, etc.

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During my most recent visit to Ohio, I came across some old address books.  One appeared to have belonged to my mother from eons ago and the other was my grandparents’ that she kept after they passed away. 

I learned a few things by thumbing through the pages of these books.  The first was that my grandfather was a very meticulous person.  He actually typed up addresses and pasted them in at the correct spots alphabetically.  When someone died, he would cross out their name and mark “Decased” along with a date.  That only helps me when it was a relative yet it gets me wondering how my grandparents felt each time a long-time friend or a relative died.  There it was in black and white (and sometimes red pencil) – subtracting each friend from their life – through the pages of an address book.

Another thing I learned was that my grandfather actually had addresses for relatives I wasn’t sure he had ever met.  I was unsure if he had met his Aunt Rachel’s family until I saw names and addresses listed.  At the very least they corresponded once a year with a Christmas card. 

My mother’s old address book was a little different.  Not many addresses were marked through with “Deceased” but because of the person moving to a new residence.  That was a big difference between the two books.  Most of the people my grandparents knew stayed in the same place and the only changes were either closer to a child or to a nursing home as they aged or to sunny places such as Florida, California or Arizona.  The people my mother tracked moved due to military service, new job offers, a change of scenery, etc. 

Isn’t it amazing what a few pages from address books can tell you?  Not only about the people written in the pages but the person who kept up with it?

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Malissa Goul was born in 1832 in Champaign County, Ohio.  She was the granddaughter of the immigrant, Adam Goul, born in Germany, and his wife, Elizabeth Lutz, born in Pennsylvania.  Malissa’s father, John, was Adam and Elizabeth’s oldest son.  Her mother was Martha McManaway.  And she was my maternal 2nd great-grandmother. 

This woman intrigued me especially when I found out that her oldest son, James Oakland Goul (called “Oaki” or “Okie”) had the same last name as she did.  Was her first husband also a “Goul”?  Was he born after the husband died and she gave him her maiden name?  What was the story?

My mother told me that the family story was that she had him out of wedlock.  Delving into family history, I realized that wasn’t as uncommon as I thought.  I’ve found many couples who were married shortly before a child was born or after a child was born and sometimes not at all. malissa_blazer

The photos I have of Malissa and her son were some of the first “old” pictures I acquired.  Her funeral book was the first memorial record I was given.  So I’ve attempted to learn all I can about this woman who became the mother of my maternal grandfather’s mom (Katie Blazer Johnson).

The biggest question I wanted answered was who was Okie’s father?  I found an entry in the Madison County, Indiana Marriage record transcripts for Okie.  He was married on February 1, 1900 to Eliza Jones.  Okie listed his age at the next birthday as 43 and his father’s name as James M. Goul.  Okay – I had a name.  But who was this man?  Was he a distant relative?  I had much more to research. 

 In the 1850 Census of Union Township, Champaign County, Ohio, I found the John and Martha Goul household.  Included in the household were their children – Eveline, Mary Ann, Malissa, Ruth, William J., John W. – and two boarders – Thomas Dillons, age 28, a laborer born in Ohio and James Goul, age 28, a grocer born in Virginia.

john_goul_1850

Could this James Goul – a grocer – and 10 years older than Malissa have been the father of her oldest son?  I believe he was.  And furthermore, I believe he is also the James Goul who married Hannah Harbert, daughter of Thomas Harbert III and Elizabeth Huston; sister of Josiah Harbert who married Malissa’s oldest sister, Martha Jane Goul.  James had married Hannah before Malissa became pregnant with Okie, and he and Hannah had already had one son, William Andrew.  Soon after Malissa became pregnant, the family moved to Madison County, Indiana, and James and Hannah moved away from Champaign County, Ohio to Missouri.  I don’t believe father and son ever had a parent-child relationship. 

I’ll never know if Malissa pined for James or if it was just an affair of convenience.  She didn’t have her mother to confide in as Martha died in December 1855. 

Further digging has led me to believe that Okie’s father, James, was the grandson of Adam and Elizabeth Goul – the first cousin of Malissa and nephew of her father, John.  In Adam’s will, written December 4, 1843 (2 years before his death), he named his surviving wife (Elizabeth), children (Mary – eldest daughter; John – eldest son; Christian – second son; Henry – son), and grandchildren (Mary, Andrew and James). 

Malissa had her child, Okie, and by 1859 married Franklin Blazer.  The couple went on to have two sons, John Franklin and Wesley, and three daughters, Martha, Katie and Rachel.  Unfortunately, the couple did not have a long and happy marriage.  Franklin died in August 1869 leaving Malissa to raise 6 young children alone.  She never remarried.

Malissa died on March 7, 1907 in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana.  Her funeral was held at the Clayte Sells Chapel and burial was in Fall Creek Cemetery. 

I hope Malissa rests in peace for she had a very hard life.

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Which is where I’ve been for the last week!  As I was “googling” and searching for some information, I decided that some more “clean-up” of my gedcom was in order.  Or more precisely – better documentation.  Since I was doing research on the Goul (and for all of those not in the know – it rhymes with Owl!) line of my tree, that is where I focused my work. 

I don’t have subscriptions to any of the online “pay” genealogy sites, so thought I’d work with what I could.  I started on HeritageQuest – which I can access from home thanks to my local library.  I wanted to find every single census record I could that included a member of the Goul family in order to “source” it in my family file. 

While doing so, I ran across “extra” Goul folks so added them into the family file as non-related people just in case.  The documentation took quite a bit of time.  Not only did I add the information on where everyone was in the Census records but the Series, Roll and page numbers. 

After I finished with HeritageQuest, I went to FamilySearch labs and entered information I found from there.  Then on to Rootsweb family trees and the Social Security Death Index.  Then I did a Google search to see what “distant” cousins had entered. 

In the middle of all of this, I received an email from a distant cousin – one who had posted some queries awhile back to one of the message boards.  We wrote back and forth and she mentioned that she had some things to mail to me.  I received the package on Saturday and it was a rather large package with quite a few family group sheets, copies of letters she had received from another distant cousin (who has since passed away).  One of the letters was actually a letter written to this other cousin that he had sent to her, and you’ll never believe who the author of that letter was – my grandfather!  Talk about the “circle of genealogy”!  This is the second time a cousin has sent me copies of letters my grandfather had written to other people. 

My week’s worth of work has been very productive and successful. I’ve been able to attach some of those non-related people to my line.

Even though I’ve used every combination of spellings to find the Goul family in the census, I’m not quite done.  I’ve located them under the variations of Coul, Gowl, Gaul, Gowell, and Goule.  But I’m sure there’s more!

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