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My dad remembers his mother’s youngest brother with fondness.  Born Alva Lester House on May 9, 1886 in Coshocton County, Ohio, he was the youngest of James and Frances (Ogan) House’s eight children.  Somewhere along the line, he acquired the nickname of “Doc” even though he went by his middle name, Lester.

 

Lester and Mary Lucy Besser, daughter of Isaac Besser and Mary Thornsley, were married on June 13, 1908.  Lucy, as she was known, was just over 16 years old.  On February 28, 1910 their first child, Arthur Joseph House, was born in Tuscarawas Township, Coshocton County.  On April 16, 1910 the couple and their son were enumerated in the James E. House household living at 423 N. Eleventh Street in Tuscarawas Township, Coshocton County.  Lester is working for a pottery company as a kiln worker, possibly at the Pope-Gosser China Company located on Seventeenth Street.

 

 

Lucy’s mother, Mary Lucy (Lucy) and step-father, Noah Deeds, lived on the same street at house number 336.  Lucy’s father had been killed in a coal mine accident when she was still a child. 

 

Four days after the census taker left, little Arthur came down with pneumonia.  At just two months old, he contracted meningitis and died on April 29, 1910.  Lester and Lucy faced their first tragedy as husband and wife.  The baby was buried two days later in South Lawn Cemetery in Coshocton. 

 

 

Two years later, Esther Annie House, was born on April 7, 1912.  She lived only 18 hours before dying of lobar pneumonia. She was buried next to her brother in South Lawn Cemetery. 

 

 

Not but a little over a month later, as the couple were enjoying some time at the home of Lucy’s mother and step-father, Lucy Thornsley Deeds, fell out of her chair by the window of her home and died of a heart attack.  The woman was about 42 years old.  Once again, Lucy had to overcome a loss and wade through her grief.

 

 

 

The couple finally had a child they could nurture when Georgia Evelyn House (referred to as Evelyn her entire life) was born on March 11, 1914.  Their joy continued as a healthy son, Jarold House, was born two years later on May 26, 1916.  Unfortunately the year previously, Lester had lost his mother, Frances (Ogan) House, to pulmonary tuberculosis.

 

Lucy wasn’t in the best of health as the family had lived in Colorado about a year but returned to their hometown on account of her health.  The family also lived in Dennison, Pennsylvania where Lester worked in the shops but returned to Coshocton in September 1919. 

 

The 1920 US Census taken on January 8th, shows that the couple is residing, once again, at 423 North Eleventh Street with Lester’s father, James. The census taker must have asked for the first name of occupants as they are listed as James E. House (head), Alva L. (listed also as Head), Mary L. (wife), Georgia E. (daughter), Jarold E. (son).  There was also another child – one still unborn – as Lucy was pregnant.

 

A little over a month later, the young mother contracted the Spanish flu, which had been the cause of a worldwide pandemic that had begun two years previous and would continue for several more months, then pneumonia set it causing labor.  It is unknown how far advanced the pregnancy was, however, the son that was delivered on February 14th, was stillborn.  Lucy died the following day.  The baby was buried with Lucy next to the other two children, in South Lawn Cemetery. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lester had to pick up what was left of his family and move forward.  His small children were also ill with the flu but would go on to recover.  He had to move beyond his loss and grief.

 

Part Two: How much more loss and grief can this famliy withstand?

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Thanks to Randy over at Genea-Musings, several of the genea-bloggers are flocking to How Many of Me to find out how many people in the United States have our name.  That started me thinking about the naming patterns within my ancestry and family. 

Donna Przecha has an article at Genealogy.com on the Importance of Given Names. Donna writes, “You will often see the same names used over and over again in families. While certain names are popular in different areas in different times in history, the repetition could represent a pattern.”  She writes of English naming patterns of which son is named after the father’s father, the mother’s father, the father, or father’s & mother’s brother(s), and the same with the daughters being named after grandmother’s, mother, and aunts.

Many have noticed as they are inputting names into Gedcom files, that there may be several generations of sons who carry on either a given name or middle name.  So I thought I’d go through my list to see what I could find.

The furthest ancestor in my Amore line is William Amore.  He has 6 descendents who share his name.

  • His son (my great-grandfather) – William Henry Amore
  • His grandson, (my grandfather) – William Lloyd Amore
  • His great-grandson, (my uncle) – William Gail Amore
  • His 2nd great-grandson, (my first cousin) – William V. Amore, Sr.
  • Another 2nd great-grandson – William C. Amore
  • His 3rd great-grandson, (my first cousin once removed) – William V. Amore, Jr.

The House line has several William’s (12 – first names)

  • Born 1642
  • Born 1672
  • Born abt. 1684
  • Born 1713
  • Born 1744
  • Born 1781
  • Born 1813
  • Born 1840
  • Born 1853
  • Born 1871
  • Born 1946

Middle name of William:

  • Fredrick William House - born 1878

James’ (first / middle)

  • My great-grandfather – James Emory House
  • His son – James Wilbur House
  • His grandsons – Welby James House & my dad (whose middle name is James)
  • His great-grandsons – both named James Amore
  • His 2nd great-grandson – my son James S.
  • A 3rd great-granddaughter – Jamie

In my maternal Johnson line there are many men with the first name of James who descended from my 3rd great-grandfather, Jacob Johnson:

  • his son (my 2nd great-grandfather), James Wilson Johnson
  • his great-grandsons, James Bertram Johnson, James Wilson Shively, James Madison Shively, James Leroy Delawter
  • his 3rd great-grandsons, (my brother) James Amore, A. James Hastings, James Shively
  • his 4th great-grandson (my son), James S.

And also descended from Jacob with the middle name of James:

  • his son, John James Johnson
  • his 3rd great-grandson, E. James Pratt

I plugged the names into the How Many of Me website and came up with this:

  • William Amore - there are 3,749,171 people in the U.S. with that first name.  There are 2,379 people in the U.S. with that last name.  There are 29 people with that exact first and last name.
  • James House – there are 5,076,176 people with that first name.  With the last name, there are 51,860 people.  There are 863 people with that same name. 
  • James Johnson – with the last name there are 2,470,975 people.  There are 41,117 people with the same name.
  • William House – There are 637 people with that same name.

Statistically:

  • James is the #1 most popular first name.
  • Johnson is the #2 most popular last name.
  • William is the #6 most popular first name.

Oh, and how did my name rank?  There are 282,179 people with the same first name (on a personal note: I’d like to know where all these people are!).  There are 5,613 with the same last name (and if they are from Missouri – probably related!).  There are only 5 of us with the same first and last name.  Have you played?

Quite possibly you may be able to discover the name of that brick wall ancestor, if you analyze the naming patterns throughout the generations.

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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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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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There has been a meme going around the genealogy blogs, started by Lori Thornton of Smoky Mountain Family History about long gone stores of yesteryear.  I’ve read a few of them and it sparked my own memories of the shops we’d go to in downtown Dayton.

Those were the days of department stores where each department was located on a different floor.  I remember the escalator rides.  Most notably as a child we went to Rike’s (photo courtesy of Preservation Dayton) – which no longer exists – and Elder-Beerman.  Sometimes JC Penney’s.

Wright State University Libraries page notes that the seven story building was built in 1912 on the corner of Main and Second Streets in Dayton, Ohio. In 1982 Rike’s merged with Shilito’s and became Shilito-Rikes. In 1986 the company became Lazarus. The building in Dayton was imploded to make way for the Schuster.

We would start on the ground floor and ride up.  I remember the “white” floor.  Nothing but linens, sheets, and draperies.  Ninety-nine percent of the merchandise was white.  Heavy linens.  Not sure why that image is stuck in my head.

At Christmas we would park in a convenient parking garage and walk the sidewalks of downtown Dayton until we’d get to one of the stores.  Up we’d go until we’d get to Santa’s Wonderland.  Beautiful displays of mechanical boys, girls, elves, and reindeer were set up.  There was a children’s puppet show and then finally, the big man himself – Santa Claus – would appear.  All of the children would line up to tell him what we wanted for Christmas and get the annual Photo with Santa taken! 

Whenever my mother needed a store-bought new dress, I remember the dressing rooms with their very heavy curtains (not doors). I’d sit and wait patiently in the “viewing” room until she’d come out and stand in front of the bank of mirrors to check the fit. Those were the days when the sales ladies would bring clothes into the dressing rooms for you or take them away instead of leaving them on a rack somewhere. They’d also help you dress. Very specialized and personal service.

Then there were the stores closer to where we lived.  Going to Kresge’s 5 and 10 cent store was a weekly occurrence. It was like Woolworth’s. Rows and rows of discount items. I loved to look at all the toys and dolls and wander over to the pet department where they really had fish and birds. I saw a mynah bird in Kresge’s once for $15 (hey it was the late 60s!) and begged my mom to buy it! I was a huge fan of “Bewitched” and loved the mynah bird on that show. Plus it talked! She didn’t get it for me!

Then there was Goldman’s in Kettering. It was a predecessor to stores like K-mart and Wal-Mart. In the early 1970s a young school teacher was murdered and they found her in her car that was parked in Goldman’s parking lot. (There was a book written about it called “The Girl on the Volkswagon Floor” written by William Arthur Clark). We’d go there about once a month to look.

My dad was a huge window shopper. We’d go shopping just because. Mom hated it! If she goes shopping, it’s for a reason.

I’d also find myself with my dad in Hardware stores. This was before the big box home improvement stores. The only things that really fascinated me were the bins of screws, nuts and bolts. They were all so shiny!

After I learned to ride my bike – before the era of “stranger danger” – when kids could ride for miles and had to be home by dark, my friends and I would look for glass bottles to turn in for cash (remember those days?) so we could hit Lawson’s (a convenience type store) for candy. Nickel Hershey bars and yard-long bubble gum!

As a dependent of an Air Force veteran, we also shopped at the BX (Base Exchange) – sometimes called the PX (Post Exchange). I remember getting my penny loafers there almost every year.

It seemed that no matter what type of store we went to, the cash registers were all in the front of the store. So as the way shops did business and became more “modern”, I thought it was very odd finding cash registers within the departments of stores instead of located all together.

As I was compiling this, I had to Google several things to make sure my memory was correct and came across a website called Dayton in the 60s and 70s with many references to stores and sights I remember in the Dayton area from my childhood.

Thanks for a trip down memory lane!

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The topic for the 54th Edition of Carnival of Genealogy is “Family Language”.  Does your family use words and phrases that no one else knows or understands? Where did they come from? Did you ever try to explain your “family language” to outsiders? Tell a story about your family-coined words, phrases, or nicknames.

 

 

I’ve been struggling with this topic because nothing jumped out at me.  Then I realized I “lived” my family’s language!

 

My mother had the normal “mom-isms” when I was growing up:

  • Were you born in a barn?
  • If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?
  • You’ll see yourself coming and going (this was in response to asking if I could just have clothes bought from a store instead of hand-sewn)
  • Whose glass is this? (in response to seeing a half-empty glass sitting somewhere – a glass that someone is still using!)
  • My skin’s crawlin’ (describing nerves)
  • I forbid . . . (usually something I wanted to do or someone I wanted to be friends with)
  • I have eyes in the back of my head. (this even worked when I said it to my niece and nephew!)
  • Like a bull in a china shop. (Referring to me because I run into things, am clumsy, break things and knock things over.)
  • Did you comb your hair?  (Always said to me because with naturally curly, baby fine hair my hair is always a mess!  Most of the time I wanted to reply, “No, I can’t comb it because I can’t get a comb through it.”
  • Do you think money grows on trees?  Not a good thing to say to a 6 year old who witnessed my grandparents receiving for their 50th anniversary a “money tree”.
  • Get back from the TV, it’ll ruin your eyesight. (Actually I think it’s hereditary!)
  • Carrots are good for your eyes. (Oh yeah, you don’t like them either!)
  • I hope you have children JUST like you.  (Well, guess what? I did. Happy now?)
  • You’re so hateful!  (Usually when I’d misbehave, talk back or yell at my niece and nephew)
  • There’s kids starving in China (ok, send this stuff to them!)
  • What would (neighbors, relatives, or the normal “everyone”) think? (I really don’t care!)

Then there are the unusual ways she puts things. 

  • That’s a bunch of hooey!  Her definition: that’s a load of crap, a bunch of marlarkey, that’s a lie.  (Dictionary.com lists this as an interjection. 1. used to express disapproval or disbelief; 2. silly or worthless talk, writing, ideas, etc.; nonsense; bunk.
  •  She looks tough.  Warning: this does not mean she’s a police officer, body builder, member of the armed forces or a strong woman.  Definition: Girl or woman who looks street-wise, a young girl trying to look older for the wrong reasons, “loose” or easy.  Usually said when someone is wearing way too much make-up, or heavy duty eye shadow or eye liner, too bleached hair that looks unnatural, clothes that are too short or immodest.   Also describes a regular woman or teen-ager who has a mouth like a sewer, and is spouting off loudly in public.
  • Pretty Soup Red (this is what she called tomato soup when my sister was young because even though she likes tomatoes, she didn’t like tomato soup. We still call it Pretty Soup Red today!)
  • We’re having stuffed “mangoes”!  (Boy, doesn’t that sound appetizing?  In actuality, it was stuffed peppers.  For as long as I can remember, Mom has always called peppers – mangoes.  I didn’t even know what a real mango looked like until I was an adult  And yes, I’ve eated mango – just not stuffed!  I’d prefer green bell peppers!)

Since Mom spent several years in Japan, she’d also use Japanese sayings:

  • Dōmo arigatō – thank you
  • Gomen-nasai – I’m sorry

In my present life (husband, 4 kids, 3 grandsons) most of our expressions stem from an incident that will be remembered forever just by the terms we use.

 

Upon smelling someone grilling, we’ll ask: “Should we call it in?”  This is because a neighbor did just that – call the fire dept. one day when we all smelled barbecue. Turns out – he was right.  Another neighbor left their coffee maker on when they left on vacation and it burned into their attic.

 

“Dive Bombing Birds” – the grackles (big ugly black birds) in North Texas just don’t like me.  During a garage sale I was having over 10 years ago, I was talking to the birds on the roof, when one of them swooped down and dive bombed me!

 

“Suicide Walls” – if you’ve ever driven in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area – then I don’t need to explain this.  But if you haven’t, be forewarned that driving on some of the highways you’ll come across high concrete walls on both sides of the roadway.  No where to move if you have to – therefore, it’s like taking your life in your hands.

 

Tommy-toes: a term we call tomatoes made up by my son.

 

Then there are the “Texas” terms that have crept into this native Buckeye’s slang:

  • I’m fixin’ to . . . (going to do something)
  • Y’all (I don’t really have to explain, do I?)

And of course, we must not forget the way we (mis)pronounce stuff due to our Midwestern speech inflections.

Mom’s: Huh-woi-ya (Hawaii), Figger (figure), pronouncing the double “o” in words like Cooper the same as in look, the last syllable of motorcycle is like icicle, pilla for pillow.

I still have trouble with Wash or Washing or Washington.  I pronounce it like woish or warsh.  I also say cooshun for cushion.  My sister & niece spell the word small: s-m-all!

 

Children’s terms: When I was 3-4 years old, I called a tissue, a “Boo”.  I’m not sure why but perhaps because we’d play “peek-a-boo” with tissues.  My oldest daughter used to put her hand on her hip and say “bop” when she had to potty – this was just as we started training her.  To this day I can still see that image of her saying that, and I laugh out loud.  It was priceless!

 

And that’s not a bunch of hooey either!

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Is This Rachel?

I wrote about my great-grandmother’s two sisters, Martha (Mat) Blazer, in “A Case of Chase” and Rachel Blazer Given in “Elusive Great-Great Aunt Rachel”.

I’ve located a photo recently that my mom seems to think may possibly be Rachel.  I am posting these photos in order for everyone to give their opinion.

  

These two photographs are of Malissa (Goul) Blazer at two different ages.

Martha (Mat) Blazer

James (“Oakie”) Oakland Goul

Katie Blazer Johnson

Could this be Rachel Blazer Given?

Lineage: Malissa Goul Blazer mother of John Oakland Goul (first child by James Goul) and Martha, Katie, and Rachel Blazer (also John and Wesley Blazer – I have no photos of them).  As I compare the photos, I notice the chins look similar. 

I will continue to compare this picture of the person thought to be Rachel with other family portraits in order to figure out if this really is a member of the Blazer family.

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