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.
Death Certificate for John Lafayette Johnson
- 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.
- 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)
- 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).
- 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.
- The Primary Registration District is left blank indicating that the Registration District was the only one and not part of another.
- The Registration Number is 5 (used for file management).
- The fields pertaining to an exact location of death (house number, street, ward, hospital) are left blank.
- 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.
- How long in the U.S. if foreign birth was not complete because he was born in the United States.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sex: Male (self-explanatory)
- Color or Race: White (self-explanatory)
- 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.
- Name of spouse (if married, widowed or divorced: Katie J Johnson
- Date of birth: March 2, 1861 (hoping my grandfather knew his father’s birthdate).
- Age: (this is inferred as at the time of death) 78 years 2 months 26 days
- Trade, profession, or particular kind of work: Fruit merchant (he owned a truck that he used as fruit vendor).
- Industry or business in which work was done: Left blank (he was self-employed)
- 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)
- 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?)
- Birthplace (city or town) (state or country): Howard county, Indiana (I do not have any other documentation to prove this information)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.)
- Mother’s birthplace: Don’t now (see #26)
- 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!)
- Address (of the informant): Fairfield, Ohio
- 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.
- Funeral Firm: The Morris Sons Co.
- License (of the Funeral home): 1294
- Address: Osborn, Ohio
- Embalmer: Yes (my great-grandfather was embalmed before he was taken back to Anderson, Indiana)
- Filed: May 30, 1939 by Fern O. Routsoung, Registrar (it was filed two days of my great-grandfather’s death)
- Date of Death: May 28, 1939
- The physician reported that he attended the deceased from January 31, 1939 until the date of death.
- The physician last saw the deceased alive on May 27, 1939 – the day prior to his death.
- 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)
- 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)
- There were no contributory causes listed.
- The section for injury, etc. is left blank.
- The answer to was disease related to his occupation was no
- It was signed by T.H. Winans, M.D. on May 29, 1939 (the physician who had treated him on the day after death)
John and Katie (Blazer) Johnson before her death in 1930
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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Posted in challenge, Fearless Females, Life and Death, Occupations, tagged Amore, Anderson, Clawson, Coshocton, Fairborn, Fearless Females, House, Indiana, Occupations, Women's History Month on April 7, 2013 |
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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 12 – Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.
W.F. Clawson store in Anderson, Indiana
My maternal grandmother, Vesta Wilt, helped out in the store owned by her step-father, William Frank Clawson, prior to her marriage. The Clawson’s store was located in Anderson, Indiana. That is about the only job outside of the home she ever had. Vesta was better known for being an excellent homemaker and making so many of her family and friends feel welcome in the homes she shared with her husband, my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson. He always held a position of importance in the military so my grandmother was always prepared to entertain other officers.
My paternal grandmother, Ella (House) Amore, worked in the Coshocton Glove factory. I don’t know if it was before she was married or after she was married with children.
Mary Amore using her knitting machine
Mom spent more time working outside of the home than she did as a full time homemaker. She worked as a bookkeeper, a seamstress, a grant writer, a secretary, and in accounting. She didn’t complete her working “life” until 2003 – at the age of 81. With only a high school education, Mom was very fortunate to obtain some of the positions that she had. As a small child, I was lucky that she was a stay at home mom for awhile. When she did re-enter the workforce, it was as a seamstress for a drapery manufacturer. Then a few years later, she went to work for Apple Manufacturing in downtown Dayton. They worked on contracts for the U.S. Army making cargo covers among other items. It was heavy, dirty work and she didn’t get much more than what the law allowed for minimum wage. Very rarely did she have to miss work due to illness because if she had, she would not have gotten paid. She didn’t have much in common with the people she worked with. Yet she was there for almost 10 years before the government contracts stopped and the plant closed its doors. She painstakingly sent out feelers and resumes and stayed employed. Not only was she a professional seamstress out in the workforce, but Mom was a professional home seamstress. She was very good and for awhile when I was in elementary and middle school, she had regular clients who came to our home. She mainly did alterations but ocassionally would sew clothes – even our neighbor’s wedding dress. She had a knitting machine (see picture above) and took classes on how to be an instructor. Dad and I would drive her to other lady’s homes so she could teach others how to use the machine. Now that knitting machine is mine.
Mom as a Senior Aide & Grant Writer at the Fairborn Senior Center – mid 1990s
(All photos – original and digital owned by Wendy Littrell, Address for Private Use)
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In my previous post from last Thursday, Treasure Chest Thursday – Items from a Box (Part 1), I wrote about a picture I found in one of the many small boxes of photos and ephemera I have. Today, I’m pulling out one of my grandmother’s grade cards!
Vesta Wilt was born on May 7, 1898 in Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana. By the time she was in 7th grade in 1911, her parents had divorced. Her mother and her aunt’s widower had married and were living in Anderson in Madison County, Indiana. She attended Anderson Public Schools and the principal was Eva DeBruler. When she started school in September of 1911, she was in “B” Class of grade 7. In the second semester, she was in “A” Class of grade 7 and by the end of the school year, she was promoted to the “B” Class of grade 8. Her mother signed “M. Clawson” for each month of the two terms of the school year except for the last – May.
My grandmother received A’s, B+’s, and B’s in all of her subjects (Conduct, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic, Language, Geography, Sewing, and History). Grammar was crossed out and Sewing was written in. She took one month of Music during her first term, and she only missed one day during the first month of school.
Stay tuned for more Items from a Box!
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I wish I could just add a photo and keep it wordless – unfortunately, I can’t! This photo was taken on July 30, 1916 at the occasion of William Frank Clawson’s 58th birthday! “Frank” was my maternal great-grandmother’s 2nd husband. Standing left to right: John Stern, Frank Clawson, George Fouch. Seated left to right: Mary Stern, Martha Clawson (my great-grandmother), Mollie Fouch.
John Stern was Martha’s older brother who was married to Mary Ann Betts. Mollie (Mary) Fouch was Frank’s sister who was married to George Fouch. I am pretty sure this photo was taken in Anderson, Indiana, where the Clawson’s lived.
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Posted in Tombstone Tuesday, tagged Anderson, Boltin, cemetery, grave, headstone, Hefler, Indiana, Johnson, Madison County, marker, Pendleton, tombstone, Tombstone Tuesday on August 7, 2012 |
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The photo above was taken by a friend of my grandparents pre-1920 in Anderson, Madison, Indiana. Glen R. Johnson (my maternal grandfather) is standing in between the two headstones and my grandmother, Vesta C. Wilt, is leaning on George Hefler’s headstone. The gal on the right, leaning on Sarah Boltin’s headstone, is a friend of the couple.
When I checked Find a Grave, I noticed that the current picture of George’s stone is very difficult to read. Time and weather has deteriorated the readability – at least via a photo. At the time of the above photo, Sarah Boltin (George’s second wife), was still living. Currently on Find a Grave, it shows that her tombstone has broken off at the base and is laying on the ground. I have cropped a picture of each stone in the above photo and added them to Find a Grave.
I do not believe that George Hefler nor Sarah Boltin are related in any way to my grandparents – the names have not come up in my research. The cemetery – Grove Lawn in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana – is also the final resting place for many of my grandfather’s relatives – Johnson’s, Goul’s, and Blazer’s.
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Posted in Records, Websites, tagged Anderson, Delaware County, genealogy, Indiana, library, Madison County, Muncie, Records, search on December 9, 2009 |
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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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An update has been made to Mingling of Families and Murder. Please click on the link to be taken to more of the story!
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