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biography word cloud

In Extracting Data from a Biographical Sketch, I went through the steps I took in order to make the article found within a book easier to understand. In this post, I will focus on the data within the main paragraph of what I re-wrote complete with the sources of documentation.

 

Below is the paragraph to be analyzed:

JOHN GOUL was born in Union Township, Champaign County, Ohio in 1832 the second child of Christian Goul and Ruth Lawson. At the age of two or three, he moved with his parents to Mechanicsburg. He has lived in this township most of the time since then. Mr. Goul was reared as a farmer and remained at his parents’ home assisting with the duties of the farm until adulthood. In 1854 he married Susan F. Coffenbarger. During the Civil War, he was a soldier serving with the 134th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, most of the time on picket duty at the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. His pursuits include farming and stock-dealing and is a Republican. J. Goul is a member of the I.O.O.F. and for the last twenty years, a member of the M.E. Church. He has two farms under the best modern improvements. The farm that he lives on is of 150 acres and the other farm, located in Union Township, is 84 acres in size. John Goul’s wife, Susan, is a native of Maryland but has been a resident of Champaign County since she was nine years old. The couple had two sons and three daughters but two of the daughters have died.

 

In the first sentence, several pieces of information are given – name, birth place, birth year, and parents’ names. His name (John Goul) is documented in several records. There is a John Gowl (surname misspelled – but spelled phonetically) found living in the home of Christian and Ruth Gowl in Goshen Township, Champaign County, Ohio in the 1850 census. (1) On the State of Ohio death certificate John Goul’s father is listed as Christian Goul and his mother is listed as Ruth Lawson with Mrs. John Goul as the informant. John Goul’s birthdate reads February 6, 1832 with a birth place of Champaign County, Ohio. (2) The photograph of the headstone for John Goul on Find a Grave shows his date of birth as February 6, 1832. (3)

 

The second sentence tells the reader John Goul’s age when he moved with his parents from one township in Champaign County to another (Mechanicsburg). There isn’t any documentation for this; however, the following sentence indicating he lived primarily in Mechanicsburg for the rest of his life can be seen via the 1860/1870/1880/1900 censuses. (4,5,6,7)

 

No proof exists that John Goul remained at his parents home until he was an adult – or as the original biographical sketch says “until maturity” other than he was still living in his parents’ home in 1850 at the age of eighteen as indicated by the 1850 census.(1)

 

The next part concerns the date of marriage of John Goul and Susan Coffenbarger. In the Champaign County (Ohio) Marriage Records, Vol. E there is an entry that shows the couple was married in the Probate Court on September 26, 1834 by William C. Keller, JP. (8)

 

John Goul’s military service in the Civil War is documented in the United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890 showing that he served in the 134th Regiment Co. E of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry (National Guard). The census lists his length of service as 3 months and 25 days in the summer of 1864. (9) Even though Goul was not in the military very long, he did serve the entire time that the Regiment was active as Wikipedia states that it was “mustered in May 5, 1864 for 100 days service under the command of Colonel James B. Armstrong” and “mustered out of service at Camp Chase on August 31, 1864.” Furthermore, this reference notes that besides building roads early in the summer, the Regiment had “picket duty” in parts of Virginia which documents what was listed in the biography. (10) In the digital book found on Google, History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1 page 746, there is a reference to the action which reads, “The detail of one hundred and fifty men under Lieutenant-Colonel Todd moved back to camp on the night of June 14th. On that day General Grant had ordered General Butler to move against the rebels in front of Petersburg, and on June 15th and 16th, the One Hundred and Thirty Fourth Regiment was placed on picket duty along the breastworks.” (11) This lends credence to what Goul’s biography claims.

 

The next section lists John Goul’s interests and associations. The only documentation concerning his interest in farming is through the 1860/1870/1880 (4,5,6) censuses and his death certificate (2) which indicate his occupation was “farmer.”

 

The digitized book History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1 on page 644 mentions that the Wildly Lodge No. 271 of the I.O.O.F. in Mechanicsburg began in 1855 and also had stockholders. (12) So it is quite possible that John Goul was a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows as well as dabbled in stock-dealing although documentation to support that claim has not been located.

 

John Goul’s voting record as a Republican can only be found within this biography. He did not run for public office at any time so his political affiliation is not documented.

 

That Goul was a farmer is known via the aforementioned censuses however it is unknown what – if any – modern improvements had been made. In 1874, a land survey map shows that John had 40 acres in Union Township. His father, Christian, owned 272 acres. In order to find out if Christian willed land to John after his death in September 1879, Christian’s will needs to be examined. The will states that John gets 40 of those acres making a total of 80 acres in Union Township, 4 acres less than what the biography states. (13,14) There isn’t any records found that details what type of modern conveniences or equipment John Goul employed on his land. Interestingly enough, on the 1860 Census, Goul lists his real estate value as $1500 and his personal estate value as $400. Today, those amounts would translate to almost $43,000 and $11,500. (15) By the 1870 Census those amounts had jumped to $6000 and $850 respectively – and this is prior to being willed land by his father, Christian. The 1880 and 1900 censuses did not require this information to be listed. Based on the real estate values given, John Goul was doing pretty well. (4,5)

 

The final section of the paragraph concerns John Goul’s wife, Susan, and their children. Mrs. Goul’s birth place is noted as Maryland and was listed in the 1880 and1900 censuses (16,17) as well as her death certificate (18)  that her son, Walter was the informant. In the 1840 census there is a female age 5 and under living in the Jacob Cofferberger household in Frederick, Dorchester county, Maryland (presumably this would be Susan but can not be verified). (19) On the 1850 census, she is found living with her widowed mother, Elizabeth, in Union twp, age 13 and her birth place is listed as Virginia; (20) just as it is in the 1860 and 1870 census. (21,22) However, on the 1910 census Susan is living with her son, Walter (the informant on her death certificate) and her place of birth is listed as Ohio. (23) Due to the close proximity of Virginia and Maryland, it is quite possible that the family was living in one state when she was born in the other or the confusion could be due to the boundary change over the years. As far as the inaccuracy of the 1910 census, Walter’s wife could have provided the information and not known Susan’s place of birth, the census taker got “Ohio” happy while marking it down, or Susan had been in Ohio for so long that she considered it her place of birth by that time.

 

The biography mentions that John and Susan Goul had five children – two sons and three daughters but that two of the daughters had died. Their children were Martha T. Goul, George Frederick “Fred” Goul, Isabelle Ruth Goul, Parthena Frances Goul, and Walter S. Goul. The only child not listed in any census records is Martha T. Goul as she was born on September 3, 1855 and died a month later on October 9, 1955. Her existence only came to light recently due to a memorial and photo of gravestone on Find a Grave. (24) The other daughter who had died prior to the completion of the book containing the biography was Parthena Frances born on November 7, 1861 and died on October 16, 1870. (25) Her gravestone found on Find a Grave reads “Parthena F. dau of J. & S.F. Goul died Oct. 16, 1870 aged 8 yrs 11 mos 9 ds.” (26) Parthena was only in the 1870 census before she died. (27) George Frederick (“Fred”) is found in his parents’ household in the 1860 census at age 3 years, the 1870 census age 13 years and 1880 census age 23 years. (28,29,30) Isabelle Ruth is found in living with her parents at age one year in the 1860 census, at 11 years in the 1870 census, and age 19 years in the 1880 census. (31,32,33) Isabelle died on August 21, 1881 in Goshen Township. (34,35) Youngest child, Walter, was born on February 18, 1868 in Goshen Township. (36) He is living in his parents’ household on the 1870 census at age 2 and the 1880 census at age 12. (37,38)

 

In conclusion, most of the information in the biographical sketch can be verified. A few items are still in question such as the place of Susan Coffenbarger’s birth and John Goul’s interests and type of equipment on his farm. Taken as a complete whole, the biography is a good source of information but only with the appropriate and correct sources for documentation.

Sources:

 

  1. “United States Census, 1850,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MX3J-YPC : accessed 15 Oct 2014), John Gowl in household of Christian Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing family 223, NARA microfilm publication M432.
  2. “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X8ZZ-5ZG : accessed 19 Sep 2014), John Goul, 11 Feb 1909; citing Goshen Twp., Champaign, Ohio, reference fn 59187; FHL microfilm 1927275.
  3. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 September 2014), memorial created by Candy; 1 May 2012; memorial page for John Goul (1832-1909), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89393223, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio; the accompanying photograph by Candy provides a legible image of the transcribed data.
  4. 1860 U.S. census, Champaign, Ohio, Goshen, p. 180, dwelling 1181/family 1181, John Goul; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries: accessed 19 September 2014); citing National Archives Microfilm M653, roll 942.
  5. 1870 year U.S. census, Champaign, Ohio, Goshen, p. 239, dwelling 280/family 300, John Goul; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries: accessed 19 September 2014); citing National Archives Microfilm M593, roll 1179.
  6. 1880 year U.S. census, Champaign, Ohio, Goshen, enumeration district (ED) 19, p. 219, dwelling 89/family 95, John Gowl; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries: accessed 19 September 2014); citing National Archives Microfilm T9, roll 998.
  7. 1900 U.S. census, Champaign, Ohio, Goshen, enumeration district (ED) 3, p. 32, dwelling 139/family 140, John Goul; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries: accessed 19 September 2014); citing National Archives Microfilm T623, roll 1245.
  8. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZK7-N7X : accessed 19 Sep 2014), John Goul and Susan F. Coffinbarger, 26 Sep 1854; citing Champaign, Ohio, United States, reference p 319 cn 6029; FHL microfilm 295229.
  9. “United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890″, index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K83V-9RQ : accessed 15 Oct 2014), John Goul, 1890.
  10. Wikipedia contributors. “134th Ohio Infantry.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 Jul. 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
  11. Evan P. Middleton, History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1 (1917); p. 176; digital, (http://books.google.com). 14 Oct 2014.
  12. Evan P. Middleton, History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 1 (1917); p. 644; digital, (http://books.google.com). 14 Oct 2014
  13. Atlas of Champaign County 1874, Union Township, published by Starr & Headington, 1874. Digitized by Historic Map Works Genealogy, Item No. US21861. Accessed 17 Sep 2014.
  14. “Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-27593-4386-2?cc=1992421&wc=9GML-K6N:266279201,266876501 : accessed 17 Sep 2014), Champaign > Wills 1870-1882 vol D > image 2 of 340.
  15. Dave Manuel, “Inflation Calculator.” DaveManuel.com, 2014. Web. 15 Oct 2014.
  16. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ1N-WHC : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan F Gowl in household of John Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 219A, NARA microfilm publication T9.
  17. “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMC6-1MB : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan F Goul in household of John Goal, Goshen Township (excl. Mechanicburg), Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 7A, family 140, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241245.
  18. “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMC6-1MB : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Susan F Goul in household of John Goal, Goshen Township (excl. Mechanicburg), Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 7A, family 140, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241245.
  19. “United States Census, 1840,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XHYS-GYS : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Jacob Cofferberger, Frederick, Dorchester, Maryland; citing p. 132, NARA microfilm publication M704, roll 165, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.; FHL microfilm 0013185.
  20. “United States Census, 1850,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MX3V-3M3 : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan F Ceffenburger in household of Elizabeth Ceffenburger, Union, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing family 60, NARA microfilm publication M432.
  21. “United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCGD-GLK : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susannah F Goul in household of John Goul, Goshen Township, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” Fold3.com; p. 171, household ID 1181, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803942.
  22. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MFH : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan F Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  23. “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X8VH-PPY : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Susan Frances Goul, 27 Dec 1917; citing Springfield, Clark, Ohio, reference fn 75612; FHL microfilm 1984223.
  24. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 September 2014), memorial created by Candy; 1 May 2012; memorial page for Martha T Goul (1855-1855), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89394361, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio; the accompanying photograph by Candy provides a legible image of the transcribed data.
  25. “Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F66Z-YPF : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Parthena Frances Goul, 16 Oct 1870; citing Goshen Tp, Champaign, Ohio, reference p 16 #84; FHL microfilm 295234.
  26. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 September 2014), memorial created by Candy; 1 May 2012; memorial page for Parthena F Goul (1861-1870), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89394278, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio; the accompanying photograph by Candy provides a legible image of the transcribed data.
  27. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MF8 : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Parthena F Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  28. “United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCGD-GL2 : accessed 20 Sep 2014), George F Goul in household of John Goul, Goshen Township, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” Fold3.com; p. 171, household ID 1181, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803942.
  29. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MFC : accessed 15 Oct 2014), George F Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  30. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ1N-WHZ : accessed 15 Oct 2014), George F Gowl in household of John Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 219A, NARA microfilm publication T9.
  31. “United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCGD-GLL : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Isabel Goul in household of John Goul, Goshen Township, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” Fold3.com; p. 171, household ID 1181, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803942.
  32. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MFZ : accessed 20 Sep 2014), Isabelle R Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  33. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ1N-WH8 : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Isabel R Gowl in household of John Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 219A, NARA microfilm publication T9.
  34. “Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F66Z-KZC : accessed 22 Aug 2013), Isabelle R Goul, 21 Aug 1881.
  35. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 September 2014), memorial created by Candy; 1 May 2012; memorial page for Isabelle Ruth Goul (1859-1880), Find A Grave Memorial no. 89394102, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio; the accompanying photograph by Candy provides a legible image of the transcribed data.
  36. “Ohio, Births and Christenings, 1821-1962,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XX47-L52 : accessed 22 Aug 2013), Walter F. Goul, 18 Feb 1868.
  37. “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M6KD-MFD : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Walter Goul in household of John Goul, Ohio, United States; citing p. 34, family 300, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552678.
  38. “United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ1N-WHD : accessed 15 Oct 2014), Walter S Gowl in household of John Gowl, Goshen, Champaign, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 219A, NARA microfilm publication T9.

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biography word cloud
County histories that include biographical sketches can provide a wealth of information; however, caution must be taken. These biographies were generally provided by the subject so any information, especially about their parents or grandparents, may not be accurate especially if the person being interviewed didn’t know the facts. Generally, the location is listed as part of the book’s title. The date of first publication is also needed in order to put a biography in a historical context. Many of the biographical sketches in my files contain data about previous generations within the text of their own story. If I had not been meticulous in extracting data, I could have become quite confused. Below I have provided a biographical sketch and shown my steps for extracting the information.

John Goul Biography

At first glance, this entire piece seems to be related to the subject at the very beginning of the paragraph: John Goul. Let’s take this step by step.

John Goul Biography names highlighted

First, call out each person’s name. In my example above I made each name bold with a different font color. On paper or on in word processing software, you can do this by highlighting or underlining each name. The names within this biography are: John Goul, Christian Goul, Ruth (Lawson) Goul, J.R. Ware, Thomas Lawson, Adam Goul, Elizabeth Leetz, and Susan F. Coffenbarger – a total of eight!

John Goul Biography colored

Then, keeping the paragraph intact, I highlighted the part that pertained to each person. On a portion that was about a person listed before but did not include a name, I entered the name in red bold faced font enclosed in parenthesis.

john goul biography bulleted

Next, I took each highlighted section and made it into a bulleted list for each subject named within that paragraph.

john goul biography bulleted color

Now it’s time to combine each person’s facts together so they aren’t spread out over more than one bulleted list. I did this in the example above. I took all the facts relating to John Goul (subject of the sketch) and combined them into one bulleted list. In areas where the name of person wouldn’t be clear, I added that in red bold italics and underlined it.

Finally, it is time to create an easier to read biography from the facts culled out in the previous examples. The book’s name is The History of Champaign County, Ohio by W.H. Beers & Co.; Chicago; 1881. This is how a restructured biography about John Goul would read:

JOHN GOUL was born in Union Township, Champaign County, Ohio in 1832 the second child of Christian Goul and Ruth Lawson. At the age of two or three, he moved with his parents to Mechanicsburg. He has lived in this township most of the time since then. Mr. Goul was reared as a farmer and remained at his parents’ home assisting with the duties of the farm until adulthood. In 1854 he married Susan F. Coffenbarger. During the Civil War, he was a soldier serving with the 134th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, most of the time on picket duty at the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. His pursuits include farming and stock-dealing, and in politics he is a Republican. J. Goul is a member of the I.O.O.F. and for the last twenty years, a member of the M.E. Church. He has two farms under the best modern improvements. The farm that he lives on is of 150 acres and the other farm, located in Union Township, is 84 acres in size. John Goul’s wife, Susan, is a native of Maryland but has been a resident of Champaign County since she was nine years old. The couple had two sons and three daughters but two of the daughters have died.

Mr. Goul’s father, Christian Goul, was born on September 6, 1804 in Rockbridge County, Virginia to Adam Goul and Elizabeth Leetz. He moved from Virginia to Champaign County with his parents when he was thirteen years old. Christian Goul was a shoemaker by trade and a farmer by occupation and contributed his life’s labors to the development and improvement of Champaign County. C. Goul was married Ruth Lawson in March 1828 by J.R. Ware who officiated their wedding. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in March 1878. John Goul’s father, Christian, died on his 75th birthday, September 6, 1879. John had two brothers and four sisters, all off whom are still living.

Mr. Goul’s mother, Ruth Lawson, was the daughter of Thomas Lawson, who came from Pennsylvania to Ohio in an early day and two years following the move, became a pioneer of Champaign County. Mr. Lawson located on the same land where John Goul now lives.

Mr. Goul’s grandfather, Adam Goul, was a native of Germany and came to America in an early day. He and Elizabeth Leetz were married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the Revolutionary War, Adam Goul was a teamster. He was a shoemaker by trade and was careful to teach each of his four sons, including Mr. Goul’s father, Christian, the same trade.

Mr. Goul’s grandmother, Elizabeth Leetz, was a native of Germany, just as her husband.

In the next installment, I’ll pick this biography apart even more in order to determine the facts when it comes to research.

 

(In some of the examples, the date of Christian and Ruth Goul’s golden wedding anniversary is listed at 1879 – erroneously – instead of 1878 – that was an error on my part but after creating images, I wasn’t going to go back and fix all the images!)

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Home

This is the only house I lived in until the spring before I turned sixteen. The picture above, taken in the winter time, shows how young the plants and trees are.

    ????????????????????????????????????????????   60s 57

As time went by, the landscape changed. A blue spruce and pine trees were planted in the front yard. The vast backyard changed to include plants, places for a child to play, and an in-ground swimming pool.

60s 97   60s 124

60s 105  

     

Where there wasn’t really an entry way, my dad built in a barrier with a bookshelf and wrought iron railing and tiled the floor.

    60s 83

After moving away in the spring of 1977 – to a town home across the highway, we’d have occasion to go down the street and see our old house. It really never changed. Then after I left Ohio and moved away, it seemed that when I did visit the area, the fir trees in the front yard had grown taller and taller.

53 cherry hill pic   my house cherry hill 2008

Until I moved to the house I’ve now lived in for over 26 years, the house above was what I always thought of when I thought of home.

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death certificate image

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

john_johnson_deathcert

Death Certificate for John Lafayette Johnson

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

 

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

johnson_johnl_bday

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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Mom and I at Hocking Hills State Park

When I was not quite eight years old, my parents took me to Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills State Park area located in southeastern Ohio in Logan county. The drive seemed very long to me but was probably about two and a half hours away.  We stayed in a motel during our short weekend getaway. Mom and Dad were always taking me places when I was young – more before I started school. Once I was in school, we’d take side trips on weekends – hiking at Hueston Woods just west of Dayton, Ft. Ancient near Lebanon, Ohio, or to visit my Aunt Gertie in Zanesville. For holidays we might go to see my mom’s brother, my Uncle Glen, in Battle Creek, Michigan, or to the Detroit area to visit two of my dad’s brothers.

Reading the sign at Ft. Ancient in the Fall of 1969

I’m sure when we went on sight-seeing excursions, Mom and Dad would hope I came away learning something new. Most of that information has been long forgotten but sometimes, when I see pictures, I remember the trips and the fun.

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Mom and I in Battle Creek, Michigan at Thanksgiving 1969

 

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death and funerals image

Benjamin L House, 89, of 1124 E. Main St., died at 8:30 a.m. today in County Memorial Hospital.

Born in Coshocton county Aug. 24, 1890, he was the son of William R & Margaret Davisson House. He was the last of a family of three brothers and three sisters.

Mr. House received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Union College, Lincoln Nebraska and a Bachelor of Theology Degree from Pacific Union College in California.

He served as a college teacher for 15 years in Nebraska, California, and Texas. He was a public lecturer in several states.

Surviving are his widow, the former Anna Ruby Burch; stepchildren, Charles Burch of Birmingham Michigan and Mrs. John (Juanita) Kah of Coshocton; two sons, Harold House of Mexico City, and Dr. Leland House, Los Angeles, Calif; two daughters, Evelyn Moran of Loma Linda, Calif. and Esther Gossart of Riverside California, by a former marriage.

Mr. House spent his boyhood days in Coshocton county, for 20 years he was a state employee. he was a member of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, having served as secretary treasurer for the Coshocton County Chapter for many years. He was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Dawson Funeral Home in charge of Elder Ocee R Heaton. Burial; will be in South Lawn Cemetery.

Published: Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio); Wednesday, Oct. 15, 1969.

Benjamin Longdon House, my first cousin twice removed, was first married to Maynie Wells in Cuyahoga county. The digital image of their marriage license and certificate [Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17963-39865-92?cc=1614804 : accessed 30 Aug 2014), Cuyahoga > Marriage records 1903 vol 56 > image 175 of 302.] call in to question the birthdate in the obituary. On July 3, 1903 Benjamin lists his age as 22 putting his birth about 1891 or 1892 – a good eight years earlier than the 1890 year listed on the obituary. To make sure this is the same man, I looked at his parents’ names and his occupation – listed as clergyman, as well as his birth place – Coshocton, Ohio. Perhaps someday, there will be an explanation as to why these dates are skewed. Maynie Wells was the daughter of Franklin Wells and May Perkins. From this marriage, two daughters – Esther and Evelyn – and two sons – Harold and Leland – were born. I have not found any death or divorce information, but Benjamin went on to marry Anna Elizabeth Ruby Burch on September 29, 1935 in Pleasants county, West Virginia.

Benjamin’s uncle, James Emory House (my great-grandfather), had a daughter by his first marriage – Belle Dora House. Belle married Thomas Ruby and Anna was their daughter; Benjamin and Anna were first cousins once removed (Benjamin and Belle were first cousins). According to the digital image of their marriage license and certificate ["West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FBSR-ZM1 : accessed 30 Aug 2014), Benjamin Longdon House and Anna Elizabeth Burch, Pleasants, West Virginia, United States; citing ; FHL microfilm 867988.], Benjamin is listed as 11 years older than Anna which corresponds to a birth year of 1891 or 1892.

 

 

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George W Amore

George Washington Amore, was born to William Amore and Charlotte Reed, in West Lafayette, Coshocton county, Ohio on January 6, 1854. He was the second child and last surviving child of the couple. G.W. was my great-grand-uncle, younger brother of my great-grandfather, William Henry Amore.

At the age of six, George was enumerated living in his parents household in the 1860 Census. The family lived in Linton Township in Coshocton county and the family unit included both William and Charlotte, as well as his older brother (my ancestor William Henry), and two younger brothers, Charles age 5 and Lewis C. age 1 month. Two months after the census was taken, both Charles and Lewis would die from flux (also known as dysentery and severe diarrhea). His youngest brother, Zachariah, was born sometime in the fall 1860 but died at one year of age in 1861. In 1862, William Henry and George lost their mother, Charlotte. Within a year, their father remarried to Elizabeth Spencer, daughter of Joseph Cephas Spencer and Jane Fitz.

On June 25, 1870 the census indicated that the family, which now consisted of William and Elizabeth, William Henry, George, Cephas, Jane, and Florus, were living in Franklin township of Coshocton county. A half-brother of George, Oliver, had already been born and died in that short time, and his younger half-brother, Florus, would also die before the 1880 census.

George married Catherine Burden, daughter of Rubin Burden and Helen Scott, on June 30, 1878. “Katie” was born in Plainfield of Coshocton county on October 10, 1852. The marriage produced five sons and one daughter. One son, who was probably stillborn or lived just a short time, died on April 8, 1883.

Through historical newspaper articles, it was reported that G.W. had been an assessor of Linton township; was a merchant and owned a store on Main Street that sold provisions, cigars, and tobacco; and in August 1905 was arrested for using threatening language. As a Democrat, he ran for Mayor of Plainfield but lost out to his opponent. His mercantile business was very successful, and he was a well-known and respected man in the area. G.W. and Katie were members of the Plainfield Methodist Church.

George and his wife, listed as Martha C., on the 1880 Census were living in Plainfield with their three month old son, Stanley. By the 1900 Census, the family had grown to include Bertha, Charles, Grover, Georgia, and Jessie. George listed that he was a farmer who was renting a farm. Since there were still two minor children living at home, the family was enumerated in Ohio’s Miracode Census in 1910. In the 1920 Census, the household besides George and Katie included grown sons, Stanley (who never married), Charles (who never married), and Jessie.

Katie died on September 26, 1925 from chronic interstitial nephritis (a disease that affects the kidneys). At that time it was also called Bright’s Disease. Her obituary was printed in that afternoon’s edition of the Coshocton Tribune. It reported that she had been ill about two years prior to her death and seriously ill for six months. A brother and a sister survived her as well as six children and her husband. She was buried in the Plainfield Cemetery. Four years later, on September 30, 1929, son Stanley, passed away from Bright’s Disease also.

George lived for several more years and died on September 18, 1942. Not only did he have five children who survived him but also ten grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. He was buried next to his wife in the Plainfield Cemetery.

It seems to me that my great-grand-uncle was hard working and maintained a stable home for his wife and children. The picture above was emailed to me by George’s great-great-granddaughter, Rachel, in 2013. She has access to the original, and I just have a digital copy. When I saw the photo, I realized how much he looked like my great-grandfather!  It is obvious they were brothers. Unfortunately, I have never met any of George’s descendants in person but I have corresponded with a few of them online.

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

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