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Just less than 20 years ago, my friend Barbara mentioned that she was working on her family’s genealogy. She had one of the first versions of Family Tree Maker and showed me how it worked on her computer. She had notebooks full of research.

Within a year and a half, my mom had given me a few small boxes of old photos. We sat at her dining table going through each one and labeling them to the best of her knowledge. Around the same time, my sister-in-law – with some collaboration from a distant cousin as well as my father-in-law – had completed two family history books on my husband’s line. I talked to my friend more about this software program she had. Before too long, I had gotten a copy and was using it. Through dial-up, I was able to get on the internet. Cyndi’s List was the first “genealogy” website I found. At my local public library, I also found another website run by the Church of Latter Day Saints – FamilySearch before it was really called FamilySearch! Then the site mainly had family histories acquired by the church – no real census records or anything else.

I don’t remember how much longer after that it was that Barbara suggested she take me to the Dallas Public Library to the Genealogy section. She had been there many times so I wouldn’t feel like a complete newbie! We set a day, she picked me up, and made the trek just south of us into downtown Dallas.

Once we got to the 8th floor, Barbara helped me sign in and showed me the procedure for pulling microfilm as well as finding which one I needed via census index in the books. We found two empty microfilm readers and settled in for the day. First, I was struck by how many items there were on the shelves to look at. Second, I figured it was going to take me a long time even with the right microfilm roll to find what I was looking for. I had brought some blank census record research sheets that I had gotten out of my copy of “The Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook” by Emily Ann Croom in order to write down my findings. (I hadn’t planned to spend much on making copies of microfilm pages.)

I found a name on my matenal family line in one of the census indexes so I carefully retrieved the microfilm and threaded it through the reader. After going backward and forward a few times (a little too fast!), figuring out how to bring the image into focus at the size I wanted, I finally saw my great-great-grandmother’s name on the 1870 census record.

The image above is the first time I found Melissa (Malissa) Goul Blazer on any official record. I think I smiled the rest of the day! She was real. She was counted. And not only that but my great-grandmother Katie was the 6 year old living with her. I knew it was the right family because I was aware of the names of the other children. I was a little confused why Melissa’s husband wasn’t living with her (it would be many more years before I realized that Melissa was a young widow). Suddenly, there was a need for me to find others: other ancestors of mine. And that drive is still there – except with a more discerning eye. But that name written on the census record – that was probably the turning point in my family history research. And it all began with a trip to the library!

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baby mary

By the time I was born, the only set of grandparents still living were my mom’s parents – Glen R and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson. Forget about great-grandparents. My grandmother had four siblings still living: John and Clifford lived in Oregon, Nellie lived in Washington, and Clarence lived in Indiana. John Wilt died before I was old enough to meet him. As far as Clifford, I don’t remember meeting him but I may have as a small child. I knew Nellie from staying at her home in Washington when my parents and I toured the western states and because Aunt Nellie and her husband John Lilly visited Dayton many times. I also remember visiting Uncle Clarence in Indiana almost every year.

It wasn’t until I was almost a teen, that I even learned that my grandfather had an older brother who had died young as well as a younger foster sister, Eva. Apparently, everyone thought Eva had died as well (later I found out that Eva outlived my grandfather). But it never dawned on me until many years ago, even when I had seen her gravestone, that my grandfather had a baby sister named Mary who died before she celebrated her first birthday.

Several days ago, Ancestry published three new databases – Indiana marriage, birth and death records. I immediately began going through them for any new or correct information. Mary appeared on the 1910 census and the Indiana death index (no images) listed her date of death as July 1910. The search term of Mary Johnson 1910 did not bring her up. I tried various ways to find her until I gave up and just entered the month and year of death. Finally, her death certificate was located under Marry L Johnson (her gravestone reads: Mary A Johnson). She is buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson.

Mary died at home – 432 W. 17th street – in Anderson, Indiana at the age of 8 months and 14 days on July 17, 1910. The cause of death was listed as brain tumor and contributory cause was cholera infantum. I had to look that up. Merriam-Webster online defines it as “an acute noncontagious intestinal disturbance of infants formerly common in congested areas of high humidity and temperature.” I am left wondering if the brain tumor killed her or if she had become so dehydrated that her condition deteriorated rapidly.

An interesting thing to note is that my mother’s sister, Genevieve, died from a benign brain tumor. My aunt’s tumor was not cancerous but it was inoperable and 48 years after her baby aunt breathed her last, so did my Aunt Genevieve.

I am also left to wonder if my mother was named after my grandfather’s baby sister. I never heard him speak about his sister or how he felt at her death. He had just turned 11 when Mary was born so he was old enough to remember her short life.

Years ago, I found a crate of large pictures. One of them was of a baby that my mom thought was baby Mary. I don’t know if it is but I have included it above. It seemed that for so many years, she wasn’t talked about. Perhaps my Grandad thought about her when he lost his own daughter, Lois Evelyn, at just six weeks old or when Aunt Genevieve was so ill. But documents pertaining to Mary’s short life have been found – she did live, she did breathe, and she was loved.

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Indiana_Flag_(1903)

Thanks to a Facebook post on the Indiana Genealogy page yesterday, I learned that three new databases were added to Ancestry.com – Indiana Birth Certificates (1907-1940), Indiana Marriage Certificates (1958-2005), and Indiana Death Certificates (1899-2011). At first, I figured it was just transcriptions of these documents (and we all know that there can be errors in transcribing documents!). Imagine how thrilled I was to find out that these three databases all included scanned images of the records!

After spending almost an hour going through some of the records pertaining to my family and ancestors, I realized that if I didn’t set a time limit for myself, I would be up all night! I found the birth certificates for my mom, aunt and uncle! I found death certificates for some of my extended Wilt relatives. And even though I had said that I had found the last piece of the Johnson/Kirkpatrick puzzle, I was wrong! On Ellen Ora Johnson Moffitt’s death certificate, her mother’s name was listed . . . (drum roll please) . . . Nancy J Kirkpatrick!!! Oh, happy, happy dance!!!

I’m sure I will find even more details that I’ve missed when I go through these documents and some are even sad. I decided to look for the death certificate for Albert Wilt. He was my maternal grandmother’s younger half-brother, son of Joseph Napolean Wilt and Anna Park. Albert’s gravestone bears the years 1917-1933. I did find his death certificate and the cause of death listed was horrible: head crushed by railway tram as he walked along the tracks. His death was ruled an accident. My great-grandfather Joe was the informant but he listed his birth date as August 1, 1914. So was Joe correct and the incorrect birth year was put on the head stone? Whatever the case, Albert was too young and his death was tragic.

So if you have family and ancestors from Indiana, please go check out these three new databases. Perhaps you’ll find some information that can help break down some brick walls.

(Image: Indiana Flag 1903 from Wikimedia Commons; public domain)

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Infant_boy's_cap,_bib,_and_shirt_set_probably_for_christening,_England,_1675-1725,_linen_tabby_with_lace_-_Patricia_Harris_Gallery_of_Textiles_&_Costume,_Royal_Ontario_Museum_-_DSC09373

When I was about 6 or so, I learned that my dad wasn’t the youngest of seven born to Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore. A sister had been born a year and a half after him. I was told her name was Maxine. She had died as a baby.

Fast forward some 30 plus years when I started in depth research on my family history to a letter I received from my dad’s sister, Marie. I had contacted her to obtain all the names, dates, places, etc. of all the immediate Amore family. If anyone would know birthdays and anniversaries, it was my Aunt Marie. I sent her a list of names for her to fill in the blanks. That’s when I discovered that Maxine was born Mae Maxine Amore on November 19, 1922. I also learned that she died the same day.

mae maxine amore death record

It wasn’t until a few years later, that I discovered my dad’s baby sister was stillborn. She was buried the very next day. Her grave at South Lawn Cemetery in Coshocton, Ohio doesn’t have a marker. The cemetery book only lists her as Infant of Lloyd Amore. The Ohio Department of Health lists her name as “Stillborn Amore.” How very sad that Mae Maxine doesn’t have an official name in the books nor a headstone. She’s not even buried in the same cemetery as my grandparents.

Recently, I found a For Sale ad in the December 9, 1922 edition of The Coshocton Tribune that was heartbreaking.

for sale ad

My grandmother, Ella, was parting with the brand new outfit she had hoped to dress the newest member of the family in. I don’t know if she was asking the same price she paid or a little less, but $7.50 for a new baby outfit back in 1922 was a lot of money – especially for a large family. Perhaps, she realized that this would be her last baby, or with each child, she purchased one new article of clothing.

This summer, when I’m in Ohio and can (finally!) visit my dad’s hometown of Coshocton, I plan to go visit the gravesite of his baby sister and let her know that even though she didn’t take a breath on earth, she will always be remembered as a part of the Amore family.

SOURCES: 
Death Record: Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 [database on-line]. Citing Stillborn Amore. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953.State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.Ohio Department of Health. Index to Annual Deaths, 1958-2002. Ohio Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus, OH, USA; digital image, accessed 18 Mar 2016.
Newspaper Ad: Ancestry.com. Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) [database on-line] 9 Dec 1922, pg 5, Col 1, Citing Ella Amore. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Coshocton Tribune. Coshocton, OH, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper, digital image, accessed 18 Mar 2016.
Photo of baby clothes: Infant boy’s cap, bib, and shirt set… , Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume, Royal Ontario Museum, Daderot, 20 Nov 2011, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain. Accessed 18 Mar 2016.

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Classic_baby_shoes

The story picks up at the end of Common Sense Prevails for Estella Blazer to find that following Albert Hercules’ brutal attack on Stella and his indictment for attempted murder, the story goes cold. I presume that I would need to wade through files and records in person at the court house in Anderson, Indiana to sort out the aftermath. I don’t have any idea how long the man was in jail nor if he saw a trial.

What I do know is that Estella Blazer gave birth to a boy on June 8, 1884 in Madison county and named him William . . . Blazer (not Hercules)! I had to wonder why I missed that fact. Scanning through the censuses, I had found a family consisting of George and Amanda along with a grandson, Willie in 1900 – except the record is transcribed as Blayer – not Blazer (those pesky cursive z’s!). I had cast that census aside because even though the names of the adults fit, I couldn’t place Willie into the family. Now I can. In 1990, Willie was recorded as age 15. The family resided at 610 12th Street in Anderson (today, that is an empty yard).

George W Blazer 1900 snip2

In the snippet of the 1900 US Census1, Willie’s parents are both listed as born in Indiana. Amanda reports that she is the mother of 4 children but only one is living. George indicates that both of his parents were born in Virginia.

I had already located Estella – she was lying in repose in Grove Lawn Cemetery in Pendleton. Her headstone reads

Estella
Wife of J T Dilts
Died
Oct 9 1886
Age

 

Her age is obscured by the ground. Her headstone is close to her two brothers who died as small children.

However the situation with Albert Hercules concluded, Stella went on to marry John Thomas Dilts born in November 1847 in Indiana. A marriage record shows that the couple married on Oct 16, 1885 in Anderson, Indiana. They weren’t even married for one year before she died. It is obvious that her parents, George and Amanda, took in their grandson and raised him after their daughter’s death. J T Dilts went on to marry again less than three years later to Martha Cox. He died on Aug 15, 1905 in Summitville, Indiana.

But what about William? Three years after the 1900 census was taken, George died from ingesting carbolic acid (see The Deaths of Blazers”) and three years after that, Amanda died. With tragedy swirling around William from the time of his conception, would he have a “happily ever after”?

Stay tuned . . .

(Image of Baby Shoes: “Classic Baby Shoes” from Wikimedia Commons, JD Hancock, Austin, Texas)

Source: 1.  (1900 U.S. Census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Anderson Township, Anderson City, Ward 3 (pt), enumeration district 87, sheet 22-B, dwelling 480, family 491, Willie Blazer; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 14 March 2016); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 386.)

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surname cloud

In a previous article – Tracking Julia – I lamented that I could not be sure that my great-great-grandmother, Julia Ann Lewis House, was the daughter of Abel Lewis. That changed about a month ago when I found a news article that reported:

Mr. Geo. J. Lewis, daughter Julia, son and family, of Zanesville, were visiting his daughters, Mrs. Alex Jennings, Mrs. John Wagoner, and sister, Mrs. F. A. House, and other relatives.

BOOM! Happy dance! George Lewis was the son of Abel Lewis and Nancy Johnson Robinson. If his sister was Mrs. F. A. House (Florus Allen House), then that would mean that my 2nd great-grandmother was George’s sister.

Two things that I found very serendipitous about that small news clipping from the November 2, 1886 edition of The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio):

  1. It lists George’s daughter, Julia but doesn’t list the name of his son.
  2. It mentions that they will visit Mrs. F. A. House but the “other relatives” are not named.(1)

Today, I located a Quaker meeting record from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that mentions that Abel Lewis left that location many years previous to the date of record – 1808 – living in Zanesville, Muskingum county, Ohio and had married. (U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014, Provo, UT, USA, Haverford College; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Minutes, 1803-1812; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes; Call Number: JK2.6 : accessed 12 Mar 2012.)

In the Muskingum Marriage Records (database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18858-10888-51?cc=1614804 : accessed 12 March 2016), Muskingum > Marriage records 1804-1818 > image 59 of 135; county courthouses, Ohio.), Abel Lewis married Nancy Robinson were married on May 26, 1805 by William Newel, Justice of the Peace.

Now, if I can just figure out who Abel Lewis’ and Nancy Johnson Robinson’s parents are!

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News Article Title

Tell me that if you didn’t see that in a newspaper that you wouldn’t immediately go “ick” and then read it. I was not looking for this article*** but it jumped out at me while I was reading something else about someone who is a collateral ancestor. The article is from The Call-Leader (Elwood, Indiana) printed on Thursday, June 29, 1916 on page 8. I found the newspaper on Newspapers.com https://www.newspapers.com/image/87580544 and saved it as a pdf on February 2, 2016.

The article mentions that 54-year-old, D W Hunt, married Lillian Lyda Young in Charleston, West Virginia. Hunt was a neighbor of the Young family, knew his intended since birth, and vowed that he would marry her some day. Have I said “ick” yet?

Don’t you wonder what was going through the minds of her parents – especially since it was “understood almost since her birth that Hunt was to have her for his bride”? Perhaps they were happy that their young daughter was so well loved (I hope that’s the right word!) and knew she would be well taken care of.

I sought out records to see what transpired after Hunt and his wife were married. First, I found the marriage record – yes, there it was in black and white – on FamilySearch.org (Citation: “West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NMGL-44T : accessed 3 February 2016), D W Hunt and Lillian Lyda Young, 1916; citing Kanawha, , county clerks, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 521,721.). Clicking to the wvculture.org site, I found the digital image of the record. Sure enough, a D W Hunt married Lillian Lyda Young on May 14, 1916 in Villa, Kanawha, West Virginia with her mother’s consent. (On a side note: I also saw another marriage recorded for a 70-year-old groom and a 30-year-old bride.) It lists Hunt as a widower (so I guess he really didn’t wait, did he?).

In the 1920 US Census records (“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNLQ-WG8 : accessed 3 February 2016), Daniel D Hunt, Aarons Fork, Kanawha, West Virginia, United States; citing sheet 6A, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,821,957.), Daniel D Hunt is 58 years old (birth about 1862 in West Virginia) and Lillian L is 20 years old (birth about 1900 in West Virginia). Included in the household are Daniel’s two sons from his first marriage – Emmit age 16 and David age 14 – as well as the couple’s two children – Ruth age 2 1/2 and Hallie age 3 months.

I went back to the 1900 US Census to see if Lillian had already been born, and there she was living in Malden in Kanawha county at age 9 months. Besides her parents, David and Ellen, there were four other siblings (Pearl, Charles, Nellie and Alfred) all older than Lillian. Ellen died within the next year or so because in the 1910 US Census, Lillian is living with her father and her stepmother, Mary. David and Mary had been married for six years.

Daniel Webster Hunt is found in the 1900 Census with his first wife, Fanny, and four children: Mary, Daniel, Alice, and Jarrett. In the 1910 Census, besides he and his wife are the following children: Jarrett, Emmit, and David. So Daniel had children much older than Lillian – not unheard of – but makes one wonder what his oldest children, Mary, Daniel, Alice and Jarrett, thought when their father married a sixteen year old girl.

In 1930, Daniel and Lillian have added a son to their family – William. He was six years old. By 1940, their daughter Hallie Helen Hunt had married Woodrow Chandler and had a son, Jackie Lee, aged 1 (all living with the couple). Their son, William, was still residing with them. Interesting tidbit: the date of the enumeration was April 29, 1940. On another date – April 9, 1940, Daniel is enumerated at his oldest daughter’s home (Mary Coleman) as widowed. Yes, this is the same person via further research of records. Then the absolute kicker is that looking at Daniel’s headstone on Find a Grave (Memorial #51249810), his death date is April 9, 1940. Head scratching records – those are! And there is Lillian buried next to him – she died in 1962 (Find a Grave Memorial #51258652). In order to make sense of the two 1940 census sheets and the death date, my conclusion is that they really did follow the instructions which was to list who was living in the household on April 1, 1940 (not on the date of enumeration). Lillian is the person who answered the questions as indicated by the X marked next to her name. She listed herself as a widow but crossed it out and changed it to married – because she was married on April 1. In Mary’s household, there isn’t an X to indicate who answered the questions. Since her mother – Daniel’s first wife – was dead, that leaves me to believe that is the reason Daniel was listed as a widower – perhaps a Freudian slip, and they didn’t recognize Lillian as the current Mrs. Hunt?

Daniel’s will was probated on April 22, 1940 in which he named his fifth child, Emmitt Hunt, as executor. Within the contents of the will, Hunt made sure that his wife and their son, William, were well taken care of through land and mineral rights of several tracts of land. His other sons were given surface rights to land and all of the children – except for one – and a grandson were named as beneficiaries for objects, books, etc. His and Lillian’s daughter, Hallie Helen, was given only $1. Makes a person wonder what she did to irritate her father enough to basically cut her out of anything except by giving her the dollar, he knew that it wouldn’t be easy to contest because he didn’t “forget” about her.

On July 1, 1940 the appraisal of Daniel Hunt’s property was recorded in court with real estate at $2260; personal property at $65; totaling $2325.

That is the extent of information that I located on the couple. I didn’t delve into his children’s or their children’s lives. So, even though the newspaper article made everything seem pretty “icky,” it appeared that Daniel Hunt and Lillian Young remained together until his death, and he loved her enough to make sure that she had a comfortable life after he had passed.

 

***Disclaimer: Those mentioned in this blog post are not related to me.

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