Feeds:
Posts
Comments

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.

Happy Grandparents Day!

fmnots-gparentsday

On August 3, 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed a resolution proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day (Wikipedia). So if you are a grandparent – Happy Grandparents Day! If you are lucky enough to still have your grandparents living, make sure you give them a call today and thank them for all they have done for you! If you are a parent of young children, call your own parents to recognize them today.

AARP has stated that “almost 7.8 million children are living in homes where grandparents or other relatives are the householders, with more than 5.8 million children living in grandparents’ homes” and “2.5 million grandparents are taking on the responsibility for these children” (AARP, Grandfacts, January 2014, http://www.aarp.org). According to the American Grandparents Association (AGA) the average age of first time grandparents is 48 (grandparents.com, Surprising Facts about Grandparents, AGA, 2014, http://www.grandparents.com). My family is a part of the statistics. Not only do we have three generations under our roof, but have been primary caregivers for one of our grandsons since he was a year old.

Nana & Christopher

The day I became a first time grandparent!

I was much younger than the average age the first time I became a grandparent at age 39. Too young to be considered a “grandma,” I decided that I did not want that as a moniker. I flirted with “Granny” but that was mainly because on the Robin William’s version of Peter Pan (“Hook”), Dame Maggie Smith was called “Granny Wendy” (and if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you are aware of my affinity with “Peter Pan!”) My kids laughed at me and said it made me sound older than what “Grandma” would. As I had read in several publications about grandparents, grandchildren are the ones who eventually give your the name. I can still remember the day that I walked through the living room and my grandson said “Nana” and looked straight at me. So that’s what I am called by all the grandsons! My husband was not so particular – he was a Grandpa and that’s what he was going to be called. Well, my grandson could say the “pa” part so he doubled it. My husband became Papa!

vesta_glen_devonshire

Vesta (Wilt) and Glen R Johnson – Nana and Granddad

My parents – also not conventional – didn’t want to be Grandma or Grandpa either. My mom was under 50 when my sister had her first child so my mom became “Grammy” and my dad became “Gramps.” My maternal grandparents – Glen R. Johnson and Vesta C. (Wilt) Johnson – were Nana and Granddad to their many grand- and great-grandchildren. When I show my grandsons pictures of them, I say that they are their “Great-Nana” and “Great-Granddad.”

Lloyd & Ella Amore

Lloyd & Ella Amore

My paternal grandparents had passed away before I was born so I really didn’t call them anything – other than “Dad’s parents.” Of course, researching family history, I’ve become more personal with them and call them “Grandma” and “Grandpa” Amore – and sometimes their first names.

One of my cousins is “Mimi” to her grandsons and her late husband was “Poppi” while another cousin (my first cousin’s daughter) goes by “Grandma” which is hard for me to believe that she is a grandmother! An older couple from our church use the German monikers of “Oma” and “Opa.” Someone I knew years ago called their mother-in-law “Honey” as her grandmother name.

grandsons and charlie aug 2 2014

Papa with five of our six grandsons!

It isn’t what a grandparent is called, it is the relationship. Two of my grandsons live in our home. Two others I see if not once a week then at least twice a month. Two others are our new grandchildren that we were blessed with upon the marriage of our daughter to their father. One is now away at college and the other we get see at least once a month. That is a blessing that we are so close to them, see them, and have a real relationship with them.

So what are you waiting for? Call those grandparents – even the honorary ones (aunts, uncles, the older couple at church that has taken you and your family under their wing) – or grandparents – call your grandchildren! Without you – those grandchildren wouldn’t be here!

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

 

boxes-3

During the last few years of my mother’s life, I would casually glance through boxes she had stored in her basement, closet space over the stairwell, and in the closets of the guest rooms knowing that someday my sister and I would have to figure out what to do with all of those items. For a good number of years, after my grandparents had passed away in the early 1980s, there was a big box in the furnace room in the basement that contained dry cleaning bags my grandmother had saved as well as wrapping paper that had been ironed in order to re-use it time and time again. I would just shake my head. My sister had asked her once if she could do something with some of the stuff, but my mother grew anxious so nothing happened.

By the time we knew the end was near, my sister and I had already resigned ourselves to taking a good amount of time just to clean out the house. One wouldn’t think that there is that much room in a three bedroom townhome with a basement. One would be very wrong! Mom had lived in that home for 32 years. Between everything she had accumulated and kept throughout her life, she also had items from my grandparents’ estate as well as things that had belonged to me that I never could find or thought enough about to take. There were knick-knacks my grandparents had bought while they lived in Europe, items my mom had brought back from living in Japan, tons of photo albums (hers and my grandparents’), tons of record keeping paperwork, and genealogical treasures!

Since both my sister and I did not live in the same state as our mother, we were far from our homes at her side when she passed away. Neither of us had our husbands with us, except a brief period of time (memorial service), and even though we had cousins close by, that just wasn’t the same. Mom had a reverse mortgage so we knew that time wasn’t on our side. We had to get everything taken care of before the broker figured out that she had passed away and came to collect their money or forced a sale. Funds were low but we were lucky that it gave us not quite a month to get everything done.

Those few weeks after Mom died, it seemed there was blow after blow which compounded the grief and anxiety. There was no legal will which meant we had to find an attorney quickly. The clerks in the Probate office of the county courthouse were not very helpful. They wouldn’t even tell us which forms we needed but instead told us that they could not give legal advice.

Amongst planning the Memorial service, finding an attorney, and dealing with our grief, we managed to contact the correct agencies to remove the items that had pertained to Mom’s care: oxygen tanks, lifeline service, hospital bed, etc. We started with one room at a time. I have heard many stories about people who can’t bear to clean out a departed loved one’s closet to get rid of the clothing, but my sister and I didn’t have a choice. Through the removal of clothes out of the closets and drawers, we shared laughter and tears. Our focus was on emptying the house. This pile was for other family members to go through in case they wanted something. This pile was my sister’s. This pile was mine. Neither one of us could really wear any of her clothes as most of them were several sizes bigger than what we wore. That only brought home the realization of just how much weight she had lost in her final months. Each day we would take at least one or two carloads to the local Goodwill. We held a “look and see” day for our cousins and family to go through items before getting rid of them – an exercycle that Mom had once used religiously; tools – which we realized just weren’t up to snuff; Christmas ornaments and other decorations; dishware; linens; and other household items. My children and my sister’s kids had already told us what items they wanted. Those were in another pile.

We had jewelry to untangle and sort out. We had a file cabinet and other boxes of papers. Sitting in my mom’s walk-in closet going through items that had been in her “safe,” I found the marriage license and certificate of my second great-grandparents. I found divorce papers, birth certificates of my mom and her parents, and letters. I found my mom’s old medical records, all of her work history information, and her association memberships and information. There wasn’t time to enjoy the finds or do a “happy dance” because of the circumstances surrounding the finds. More often than not, items would end up in the trash – but they were unusable, broke, or not worth taking to Goodwill. Items we were taking with us were packed which meant we had to find boxes.

In between the attorney, Goodwill, and cleaning out the townhome, our cousins made sure that we were fed by having us over for meals or taking us out to dinner. When we ate at the house, we spent time coming up with meals out of all the canned goods and freezer items. Though my sister had to leave before I could, we had most of the house cleaned out. The furniture was over forty years old but we tried to contact people in the phone book who advertised that they bought and picked up old furniture. Apparently, it either wasn’t antique enough or vintage enough. By the time my husband came to pick me up to bring me home, the house was as stripped as it could be. The master bedroom suite was still left – it was such a shame as the dressers were still in beautiful shape. The appliances were left – washer/dryer, refrigerator, microwave, and range. The living room end tables, couch and chair. All of the consumables, clothing, linens, decorations, etc. were gone – either to family, Goodwill or trash. We knew what Mom’s wishes had been as to who got what (which would have been really nice had it all been spelled out in a legal will instead of one of those “do-it-yourself” booklets), so we were able to make sure items went to those people she had specified. At one point, the attorney was all upset because I was taking one of the televisions (I think he was afraid that it wouldn’t be there to sell in order to get more money for his fee) until he found out it was an old television that even Walmart wasn’t even selling anymore.

Now, five years later, I still haven’t had much time to do the genealogy “happy dance” about some of the items I found at that time. I am, however, enjoying quite a few items I brought back from Mom’s – dishes and utensils. I enjoy the knick-knacks that had belonged to both my grandparents and my mom. In many ways, I’m glad that we had such a short amount of time to do an estate clean out because it kept me focused on a goal instead of spending days in a grief-stricken fog. I had a plan and needed to follow through.

Preparing to write this blog post, I came across several other blogs from people who have had to deal with this same thing. Each one gave tips on how to make it easier such as trying to downsize prior to a loved one’s death. Sometimes this is inevitable if the person needs to be moved to an assisted living facility, nursing home, or a long term care center. Other posts advised to “let it go” and that is easier said than done. Parting with some items were much easier than others. I was aghast that no one wanted the wooden, carved desk plaque of my grandfather’s name. It had sat on his roll top desk for as long as I could remember. So I took it. I still have it. I don’t have a clue what I’m ever going to do with it. That was probably something I should have just “let go.” I have huge (and I mean huge) pictures – some sort of photographs – of my grandfather’s family when he was a child. I’m never going to have a place to hang them. Who would want to sleep in a room with huge photographs of these people staring at them all night? But I had never seen them and being the family historian that I am, I had to have them. The advice of “pace yourself” is laughable. That would be good advice if the house had been paid for (not on a reverse mortgage) or even in the same city, county, and state (it wasn’t). It’s hard to pace one’s self when time is not on your side. For me, it was about keeping some of the items “in the family” – didn’t matter if it was my sister or her kids, my cousins, my nephew, or me and my kids. My OCD was that I knew where it was. That was from years of hearing my mother say things like: “It better stay in the family” about certain things or her being upset when something had been given to someone and then they sold it/gave it away without asking. I know, that sounds rather selfish. “Here you can have this but don’t you dare do anything with it even though now it’s yours to do with what you want, unless you ask permission first” – that’s what it sounds like. So rather than incurring my mother’s wrath from beyond the grave, I became a little OCD that way. Don’t judge!

For others, the only bits of advice I will give are these: make sure your parents (and yourself) have a legal will so that way everything that they (or you) want to have happen to your belongings will be done; do it the best way you can – slow, fast, with other family members, alone, cry, laugh, and remember. For in the end, it’s the memories and time spent with the loved one that matters the most – not the stuff.

(Image of boxes courtesy of What’s Your Grief? – no copyright infringement intended.)

maude wilt memorial card

In Remembrance

maude wilt memorial card inside

Maud M. Rummel was born on October 17, 1891 in Ingalls, Madison, Indiana to E.J. Rummel and Mary Olive Sharrett. By the 1900 U.S. Census, she was living in the home of her maternal grandparents, Isaiah and Magdalena Sharrett. She was found in the same household in the 1910 and 1920 U.S. Censuses although by 1920, her grandmother had died. Maud married my maternal grand-uncle, Clarence Martin Wilt, on December 18, 1923. The couple lived on their own farm in Fortville, Indiana and never had children.

My memories of Maud consist of visiting them at their home at least once a year and sometimes twice. Maud had injured her hip at some point and each time I saw her, she was in bed. That lady knew how to quilt! She made many. Their home wasn’t much more than a one room shack with a pot-belly stove toward one end of it. Her “bed” reminded me of a window seat but that was probably because she was always laying next to the window. I can’t even recall if the bed was large enough for the two of them with all of her quilting materials. I recall stacks of newspapers here and there. I can only remember a small table and a few hard chairs. My uncle Clarence always attended the Wilt family reunion in Noblesville each fall. He was a tall man and smoked cigars.

maude wilt quilt

Maud and one of her many quilts

After Uncle Clarence was killed due to their house fire and smoke inhalation on October 14, 1975, Maud went to the hospital for awhile to be treated for smoke inhalation. I remember visiting her when we traveled to Indiana from Ohio for the funeral. After not getting proper rehabilitation treatment for her hip problems for so long, the hospital wanted to get her physical therapy in order to improve her quality of life. I didn’t see her after that last visit. She lived her remaining years at the Sugarcreek Convalescent Home in Greenfield, Indiana and passed away on February 18, 1978. Even though I was in high school, I don’t remember hearing that she had died or that my grandparents attended the funeral. We did have her funeral card so I suspect someone sent it to my grandmother. Maud was buried in the Mendon Cemetery in Pendleton, Indiana next to Uncle Clarence.

Maud left a half-brother, Claud Rummel, and several cousins. Her brother was almost nine years younger than she was so I suspect Maud’s mother had passed away and her father left her with his in-laws as he might not have been able to care for a young girl. Then he married again and had a son. There is a Claude E. Rummell (sp?), son, age 9, found in the 1910 census living in the household of Clayton Rummell, head of household, in Green, Madison, Indiana. Another child, also listed as a son, Robert G., and the mother of the head, Emma J. Rummell, are also living in the same household. The father, Clayton, is listed as married but his wife is not in the household. Claude’s mother’s birthplace is listed as Maryland. In the 1920 census, he is still living with his father, Clayton, and brother – now going by Glen, and a woman listed as “wife” of the head is also listed. Her name is Margurite, seven years older, than Clayton, and born in Indiana. On this census, Claude’s mother is listed as born in Indiana. Claude is married to Ethel by the 1930 census (for about six years) and is still living in Madison county, Indiana. Clayton Rummell is still living in the same location on the 1930 US Census with his wife, Margurite, but the other son, Robert Glen, is not living with them. The father, listed as Manual C. Rummel, in the 1940 census, is widowed by that time. Claude was born on November 26, 1900 in Ingalls, Madison, Indiana according to the United States Social Security Death Index on Familysearch and died three years after his sister, in February 1981. Robert Glen Rummell is found in Marriage Records for Indiana marrying Mary Dean Wischler on February 24, 1922 in Hancock county, Indiana. I believe that the Claude and Robert I have found are Maud’s half-brothers; however, I don’t have original or digitzed records of Maud’s and Clarence’s marriage license to look at to see if what was transcribed as E. J. Rummell was mis-transcribed from M.C. or perhaps whomever completed the marriage license didn’t know (but thought they did) Maud’s father’s initials. I have not found a death record for Maud’s mother nor her brother, Robert, so it is unknown why he wasn’t listed on her obituary (unless he wasn’t close to her and whoever wrote the obituary wasn’t aware of another brother).

Aunt Maud was always very nice to me. She sent me cards on birthdays. Looking back now, I realize that they didn’t have very much, and I wonder if that extended to their finances as well. If so, she must have thought I was special in order to spend money on a card to send to me. Whatever the reason, I am glad that I knew her from the time I was a young girl.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AJohnHollisterHouseGlastonburyCT.png

The John Hollister House in Glastonbury, Connecticut was built about 1649 according to “The HIstorical Society of Glastonbury” (Architecture page). It is located at 14 Tryon Street. This was the ancestral home for the Hollister family for many generations.  Lieutenant John Hollister was born in 1612 in England and came to America around 1642 (1). Lt. Hollister married Joanna Treat, daughter of Richard and Joanna Treat, and eight children were born to this union: Elizabeth, John Jr, Thomas, Joseph, Lazarus, Mary, Sarah, and Stephen. Hollister Sr. died after April 3. 1665 and left a will naming his widow and living children and the children of daughter, Elizabeth. His burial location is unknown.

John and Joanna Hollister are my 8th great-grandparents through their son, John Jr. He married Sarah Goodrich and through their son Thomas who married Dorothy Hills. Their daughter, Hannah Hollister, married William House and through their son, my 4th great-grandfather, Lazarus House. He married Rebecca Risley and their son, Allen House, married Editha Bigelow. Their son, Florus Allen House, married Julia Ann Lewis, and their son, James Emory House, was the father of my paternal grandmother, Ella Maria House, with his second wife, Frances Virginia Ogan.

My House and Hollister ancestors all lived in Hartford, Connecticut since the mid-1600’s. They were founders of Wethersfield and many are buried in the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford county. I would like to visit the area to walk the same places they did; view the historical John Hollister House; and pay my respects to all my many times great-grandparents in the cemeteries there.

 

(1). The Hollister Family of America: Lieut. John Hollister, of Wethersfield, Conn., and His Descendants; Case, Lafayette Wallace; 1886; Fergus Printing Company; p 19; Digitzed 19 Sep 2006; American Libraries; Internet Archive.

 

(Photo credt: Connecticut Historical Society)

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.

?????????????????????????????????????????

Mom and I in Battle Creek, Michigan at Thanksgiving 1969

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers