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Anillos

(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 5: “How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?”

I do know how my parents met – mom was working at Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) outside of Fairborn, Ohio (back then it was Fairfield) in Greene County, Bath Township. She met my dad in early 1941 when he was stationed there. They spent the next couple of years dating until they married in December 1943.

On Easter Sunday 1916 (April 23), my maternal grandparents, Glen R Johnson and Vesta C Wilt, met at church. Life would never be the same for either of them again! Such began months of daily correspondence for even though they lived in the same town, they sent letters to each other every day – and since the mail service ran twice a day – it wasn’t just one letter they sent, but two! Luckily for me, I have each and every one of those letters. To me they are priceless! A window into their lives that helped me witness them falling in love with each other (although I suspect, it was love at first sight for both of them!).

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The following is parts of a letter from my grandfather to my grandmother that he wrote to her on May 31, 1916 – a little over a month after their initial meeting.

You told me that you were not cold last night but I think you were. I am afraid you (my little girl) will be sick. But I hope not. Do not work to hard to-day. I hope you had a good time yesterday. I did I know. So good-bye Dear
I still remain yours forever
                                       Glen
To the one I love best Miss Vesta Wilt signed Glen

Later that summer – apparently after my great-grandmother, Martha, had words about Glen with my grandmother, he was very scared and wrote the following to my grandmother:

Vesta Dear I am afraid your mother will make me quit going with you. Oh! I can’t stand to think of it. I have cried all evening. But listen Dear you have a good time, don’t think of me. Whatever happens I will take it as best I can, I can go west or some other place and die. But I never will forget the Little girl of Mine. Vesta. The dearest girl there ever was. Hoping you will forgive me for all I have said and done. I will never do them again. After I leave you can forget me and find some one just as good and better than I am. Hoping you will not think hard of me for all this talk, but I think it will happen. I had a dream I never told you of. I don’t know whether I will tell you now. I think you can guess it. And just think I caused it all I am simply crazy. Well dear I have told you all I know and more to. I will be there Sunday morning if I am alive. Hoping you will not worry. Let me do all the worrying. I will close. Forgive the writing. I will close again with lots of love and kisses.
I still remain your lover and sweetheart, bit I am afraid never yours to be.
                    Glen
                 The broken hearted boy.  9:30 P.M.
5:30 A.M. Aug. 4, 1916
P.S. Well Dear I past through the awful night. I got about one hour sleep. I was thinking or crying the rest. Crying the most. Well Dear I guess I will try and work to-day. I don’t know whether I can or not.
                    Glen

My grandfather needn’t have worried because just a few short months later, they were engaged and married on Christmas Eve 1916 – eight months after they met. They were married 67 years before my grandmother passed away. My grandfather wait a year and then joined her. I am so very fortunate to have boxes and boxes of their letters to each other that allows me to feel their deep abiding and eternal love for one another.

I don’t have any idea how my paternal grandparents met – that is something I will have to ask my dad about! (Took a 15 minute break and called my dad!) Loyd W Amore and Ella M House were introduced to each other by his brother Isaiah H (Zade) Amore and wife, Lula (St. Clair). Lula was a sewing teacher and was teaching my grandmother how to sew. She asked my grandma if she wanted to meet someone and she said that would be ok (or as my dad said “Whatever they said back then.”) So they were introduced about 1901-02 and were married on April 11, 1903 in the Presbyterian Manse in Coshocton, Ohio.

Photos: Wedding rings from Wikimedia Commons. Glen and Vesta Johnson – photographer: Wendy Littrell, original and digital photo in possession of Wendy Littrell, Address for private use).

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(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 4: “Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.”

I am lucky enough to have original my maternal grandparents’ original marriage records as well as her parents (Joseph N Wilt and Martha J Stern) and my great-grandparents’ (Emanuel B Stern and Nancy Caylor). I don’t have wedding pictures of either of those couples, but I do have a wedding picture of my maternal grandfather’s parents (Katie J Blazer and John L Johnson).

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John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J Blazer – married on Wednesday, July 4, 1883
Katie was not quite 19 years old.

I have digital copies of marriage records via FamilySearch for John L Johnson’s parents (my 2nd great-grandparents), James Wilson Johnson and Amanda Eveline Mullis, and for Amanda’s parents – John Mullis and Darlett Stanley (married in Wilkes county, North Carolina) on February 22, 1811. Recently, I found the marriage license and certificate (digital copy) for my great-grandfather, Joseph N Wilt, and his second wife, Anna Park. On the line that asked if he had been married before, he listed “no.” When I saw that, I exclaimed “Liar!” at my computer screen (he had walked out on my great-grandmother, Martha, and 6 kids under 14 years old). Perhaps, he didn’t know if the divorce had ever been finalized (it had) and didn’t want to have to legally be bound to getting that information.

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Each Saturday evening, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings challeges other geneabloggers to participate in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Tonight, the theme is Ancestor Fun. The mission (should we choose to accept it!) is to pick a great-grandfather, divide his birth year by 100 and round up to the next number. Then, go to the ancestor on the ahnentafel list and find the ancestor with that number and give three facts about that person.

I chose my maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Napolean Wilt (father of my maternal grandmother), who was born in 1869. After dividing his birth year by 100 and getting 18.69, I rounded up to 19.  I use Family Tree 2011 as my genealogy program. I am the home person so I clicked on Publish at the top, then under “Charts and Reports” I clicked on Genealogy Reports. I chose the Ahnentafel Report. After the report came up, I scrolled to number 19 to see which ancestor I would write about. It was my 2nd great-grandmother, Louisa Bookless.

The line from me to her is as follows: my dad, his dad (Lloyd William Amore), Lloyd’s mother (Mary Angelina Werts Amore), “Annie’s” mother was Lousia Bookless. She was born to David Bookless and Mary Cartmell on April 13, 1834 in Muskingum county, Ohio. She married William Washington Werts (my 2nd great-grandfather) on August 24, 1852 in Coshocton county, Ohio.  I found the marriage entry on FamilySearch.org in the database – “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994″ and downloaded the digital image. Louisa married a second time after William died to John Simon on April 28, 1861 in Coshocton county, Ohio. Louisa died of “apoplexy” on July 26, 1912 in Coshocton, Ohio and was buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery in Coshocton.

Three facts about Louisa Bookless:

  1. Most of the documents I have found concerning Louisa, has her maiden name spelled “Buckless” – especially census records.
  2. Louisa’s parents died when she was young, so she is found living with relatives in the 1850 and 1860 censuses. In 1850, Louisa and her older brother, William, are living in the James Rice household in Franklin Twp, Coshocton county, Ohio. I have not discovered if he was related to Louisa. In the 1860 census, Louisa is living with her late husband’s sister, Susannah (Werts) Shirer and her husband, Quincy.  The two children she had borne while married to William Werts were living in other households which seems to indicate that Louisa did not have any means of supporting her children and needed to rely on family for support.
  3. Louisa’s first husband – my 2nd great-grandfather, passed away five years after they were married. Their oldest child, George Wesley Werts, was born five months after their wedding and my great-grandmother came along two years later. Four years after William’s death, Louisa and John Simon married.  They became parents of a daughter (Sarah Ellen Simon) three years after they married.  I did not realize my great-grandmother had a half-sister until I kept coming back to the census listing her in the same household as Louisa and John as their daughter. When I checked the newspaper account for a reunion held at my great-grandparents, I discovered that Ellen’s family came to that reunion.

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Louisa’s Death Certificate

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Jim Sanders, author of Hidden Genealogy Nuggets, started a weekly blogging theme – Genealogy by the States. This week’s theme is “New Jersey.”

The first item that came to mind at this prompt concerns my 3rd great-grandfather, Jacob Johnson. He was born in New Jersey on Dec. 11, 1787. By 1816 he was living in Ohio and had married Ann Shields. I do not have any information as to where he was born in New Jersey or the names of his parents.

Secondly, my 7th great-grandfather, Benjamin Maple, who was born in England 1663 and arrived in Colonial America (what would have been New Jersey) in 1684.  He married Elizabeth Lee in Burlington on June 4, 1695 at the Revell House. Benjamin died on May 13, 1727 in Middlesex county.

Consequently, the next several generations of the Maple family (& my ancestors) were also born in New Jersey: Benjamin Maple Jr., Jacob Maple, and William B. Maple.

A few years ago I provided some research assistance for some friends who were born in and had ancestors in New Jersey. It was the first time I had done “outside” research. It was enjoyable to watch them look at the material I had put together for them.

(New Jersey State Seal Image above courtesy of Clker.com)

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Since I’ve lost quite a bit of information that I had entered in my family data program (Family Tree Maker 2011) due to the computer crash on Election Day, the thought of recreating everything I’ve lost has overwhelmed me. (Public Service Announcement: Don’t let this happen to you! Back up! Back up! Back up! And then make sure a copy is in the cloud!)

Some of that lost data was from cemetery information from Find a Grave. My plan of attack – is to begin alphabetically in the list of individuals in my data program – and search for their date of death (if I don’t already have it), cemetery location, and other pertinent information. Needless to say, two individuals in and I’ve discovered children of a couple I didn’t know existed complete with birth and death information. I always finish off by entering the Find a Grave Memorial Number in my database – then I know that I saw the record on Find a Grave.

Generally, as I locate the burial/cemetery information – especially if it’s in Ohio – I go to FamilySearch and search for a death record. Not only will that give me a second source of documentation, but sometimes it gives a burial date and perhaps a more specific death date than what is listed on Find a Grave.

(Public Domain Image downloaded from FreeStockPhotos.biz)

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After two+ days of labor and delirium, Mary gave birth to her first born child (no, this isn’t THAT story!). The baby boy weighed over 10 lbs and came into the world on January 2, 1940.  His mother was just a mere eighteen – still a child herself. He was the first grandchild for his maternal grandparents who doted on him and cared for him when his mother was working.  In fact, he met his great-grandmother in Oregon before his mother had met the woman!

When he was five and a half, he found himself an older brother to his newborn baby sister.  The family lived in a state far away from the grandparents he loved dearlyjim picture new camera. He made friends with the neighboring family’s children.  As a young teen, he found himself – along with his mother and sister – on a sjim&sandykelso001hip headed to Japan to join the family patriarch who had been stationed there with the United States Army Air Corps (the forerunner to the U.S. Air Force). He made friends, participated in the Boy Scouts, learned to be a photographer, and tried to be a dutiful son and big brother.  Since they were so far from family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins – they sent many letters back to the States.  After a few years, they went back to their home state of Ohio, but then once again found themselves back in Japan again. He graduated from the American High School and joined the Air Force. Unfortunately, due to his eyesight and other physical issues, he was discharged before too long.

In February 1961, he married a woman that he met at work.  Soon after they were married, he heard that he was going to be a big brother again!  He and his wife took the new little sister under their wing, and she spent many weekends with them. As his baby sister grew, he found himself in a role that he never expected – being torn between being her big brother and confidante and a father-figure when their father moved away. At the same time, he was enjoying new fatherhood for he and his wife had just adopted their own little boy.

He had found his niche working for a printing company in Dayton and assumed he would be there until retirement. He and his wife had finally found a home they were fixing up and happy with that wasn’t that far away from both of their mom’s. He was an officer with the local Fraternal Order of Eagles and enjoyed the friendships and community service he found within the organization.

There were a series of losses – his beloved maternal grandmother and then grandfather and close friends.  After his son graduated high school, hardship struck when the printing company closed the doors. Dayton was experiencing a major downturn in the jobs market and he had a very hard time finding a job right away so he went to work for a cousin. He and his family moved to another home and proceeded.  Every so often he would find he and his mom on the outs – he avoided confrontation like the plague, and she sought it out.

thanksgiving98_3He found a new love in a far off state.  For a short time, he was remarkably happy. Then his health began to deterioriate. The worst part was that no one could tell him exactly why or what to do about it. By the time the doctors had discovered the pancreatic cancer, it was much too late. He only had a short time left. Too short of time for he and his mother to reconcile – although she tried to tell him while he was comatose. His two sisters were also grief-stricken but tried to remain strong for their mother – who should not have had to see her son succumb to his illness.  Far too soon and far too young, he passed away on the last day of August before the world fell apart and terrorists held the world hostage in horror.

He was survived by his wife, his mother, his father and step-mother, his three sisters and their husbands, his son, many nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends.

Today, he should be turning 73, and I should be able to call him on the phone and say, “Happy Birthday, Jim! I love you!”

 (Photos: Mary and Jim, 1940; Jim and Sandy Kelso - 1945, photographer: Gene Amore; Jim at Christmas in Japan, photographer: Jim Amore; Gene and Jim Amore, Thanksgiving 1998 in Arkansas, photographer: Wendy Littrell.  All photos – originals and digital images held in possession of Wendy Littrell, Address for Private Use)

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I’m a couple days late on responding to Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post at Genea-Musings. The questions posed were how the family reacts to genealogy interests; do they listen to stories; and funny stories to share about another family member’s interest in genealogy.

Amore: On the paternal side of my family, there have been several that have delved into genealogy including: my grandfather’s brother, Zade (Isaiah), and my great-uncle Rollo’s great-grandson, Rick. Two people who helped me quite a bit when I was starting out in 1999-2000 were my cousin, Bill Jr., and my cousin, Sharon Brittigan.

House: Along the maternal line of my dad’s family, besides my cousin, Bill Amore, Jr., (see above), a few of the House cousins were also compiling information and sharing it with me. My dad’s uncle, Alva Lester House, helped by sending a letter to my dad’s oldest sister with some family information.

Johnson: On the maternal side of my family, there have been a whole host of relatives and cousins who did quite a bit of research.  The closest to me was my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, Sr. He sent letters and information to others in the family – who have in turn (many, many years later) shared it with me!  My distant Johnson cousins, Virginia, Ruth and Alice, and myself have formed a 4-person research “team” when it comes to the Johnson family.  Virginia has been the biggest researcher though!  I wouldn’t be very far with out her help!

Wilt: This is my maternal grandmother’s family line.  Several of her cousins had trod the genealogy path so as the information trickled down to their descendants, it was shared with me (and my research shared with them).

Goul/Blazer: My grandfather’s maternal lines – again my grandfather had some of the information written down in notes and letters.

Stern: Before I was very old, at least one Stern relative was already deep into research – Virginia (Stern) Ruark. Now, her daughter, Marvel, has taken up the mantle, and between she and several others, we do quite a bit of information sharing and assisting.

My husband’s side has been researched by his sister – with help from other cousins and relatives – long before Census records were digitized and put online!

Of my four children, only my son has taken on a position as a family history researcher. He has spent several years researching the paternal side of his family and connecting with family and other distant relatives.  When I need to share stories, I usually tell him because he seems to appreciate it more than the others (the rest just roll their eyes at me!).  However, if I want to share a scandal, everyone is all ears!

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I’ve had several people subscribe to my blog lately so I want to show them some love by publicizing their blogs!  I’m also including those who have left comments or “liked” some of my articles.  Most of these are “new to me” blogs, and I bet some of them are new to you also!  Please go check them out!

Porters and Grays and Halls Oh My written by Edith Heilman. I am looking forward to reading this blog because I immediately noticed that her sister was born in Yokohama, Japan – close to where my folks were stationed in the 50s.

Digging Up the Ancients written by Lynda Crackett.  Some of the surnames she’s researching include Crackett, Webb and Henderson. Her most recent posts include History through the Alphabet and things that happened in her family on that day. Please go check out her blog if it is also new to you!

La Mia Familia by Michelle Ann Kratts. Her blog appears to be rather new – begun in May 2012 – and she writes about her Borgatti and Fortuna ancestors.

The Turning of Generations by Michelle Goodrum. Currently, she is organizing all that “stuff” in the Family Home! She provides tips and technical information.

Hidden Genealogy Nuggets written by Jim Sanders. His recent posts include information about Connecticut libraries and military genealogy.

KJN Genealogy – Dead Reckoning written by Kathy Judge Nemaric. Her most recent articles are a series of posts about her Judge ancestors coming to America from Ireland.

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Lloyd & Ella Amore

I found my paternal grandparents, Loyd and Ella (House) Amore, living at 1236 E. Vine Street in Tuscarawas Township of the City of Coshocton, County of Coshocton, Ohio, in the 1940 Census. They are the only occupants of the home that they are renting for $16 a month.

My grandfather, Loyd, appears to be the person who responded to the enumerator by way of a check mark at the beginning of his name. He is listed as the Head of the family and my grandmother, Ella, is listed as his wife. Both are shown to be White, and he gives his age as 58, with her age shown as 57. Grandpa was born on March 5, 1882, and Grandma was born June 22, 1882, so their ages match up. She was just a couple months away from being 58. They are shown as married. Their education was a little surprising for me. My grandfather completed the 8th grade whereas Grandma completed two years of high school. They were born in Ohio and resided in the same house in 1935. They are not living on a farm. Grandpa was at work for pay in his own business as a Painter for 32 hours during the week of March 24-30. He worked 52 weeks in 1939 for a total income of $1000 and did not receive money from other sources. My grandmother was enumerated as being at work in the home.

Other than the education information, none of the answers on my grandparents’ 1940 Census surprised me. What is sad for me is knowing that this would be the last census my grandmother would be enumerated because she died of breast cancer six years later. I would never get to know her and my sister was just a baby when she passed away. My grandfather would be enumerated in one more census: 1950, before he died in February 1955. How sad that he would be listed as a widower.

Now, if I can just locate them in the 1930 Census living at 720 S. Fifth (5th) Street in Coshocton, I’ll be all set!

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When a Wall is Built

When I began this quest to delve into family history, especially by creating a genealogical website and writing a blog, I knew that there would be three types of people that I’d run into.  The “We Are Related!” people are those cousins – distant and close – who want to know what has been found and will share stories and pictures and be open. The “Why Bother?” people are those who do not understand what all the fascination is about dead ancestors or relatives that you’ve never met.  Cemeteries bother them. Skeletons in the closet are NOT to be dug out. And don’t ask them any questions because they don’t remember – but (and this is a big but!) – they will respond to here and now topics – just not ones that have anything to do with genealogy.  Then there are the “Not Talking To Anyone on THAT Side of the Family” because of real or imagined slights. And yes, this is real – this is current and this happened to me a few days ago. And since I am not one to shy away from controversial family skeletons or issues – although I will keep that person’s anonymity because of their children/grandchildren – who hopefully have nothing to do with their parent’s unbalanced nature!

My father comes from a large family – he is the youngest of seven. As is usual, coming at the end of the children meant that at least one or more of the siblings were already adults. Even though there was eighteen years difference between him and his oldest sibling, they grew close as adults – though the older one did seem to treat him as a “child” – probably because Sibling A took care of him quite a bit when he was an infant. Sibling A married, had children, and stayed somewhat close to their hometown. My dad joined the military, moved away, married, had children, visited often, moved out of the country, moved back to the home state (yet still far from the hometown), attended reunions, stayed closely connected to all the siblings, retired from the military and then had a child at middle age (that child being me!)

So as a child born when my father was 40, and he being the youngest of seven, most of my first cousins on the paternal side were much older – some were already married and Sibling A’s daughter – my oldest first cousin – was even a grandmother by the time I was a few years old. So not only were our ages a couple of generations apart but our interests were different, the times we lived through were different, and we lived a good distance apart. I saw this woman – whom I will call Cousin A – at least twice a year – sometimes three times.  I never really had an opinion of her – she was just another adult who told me what to do, how to behave, and to play nice.

Several years down the road, my parents divorced. I didn’t see Cousin A after that due to circumstances that I had nothing to do with. I would hear about Sibling A and Cousin A from my dad but nothing earth shattering.

My dad remarried and after fifteen years plus, his wife passed away.  About that time, he’d returned to where he had grown up to visit his few remaining siblings still in that area. Apparently, Cousin A was in the process of building a wall – brick by brick – between her parent – Sibling A and every one of the other Siblings – including my dad. Apparently, there was a lack of communication between my father and his sibling and the next thing anyone knew Cousin A was spreading gossip and rumors that my Dad treated Sibling A horribly. What?! So Dad decided that he was done – done trying to correct the wrong. He stopped speaking to his eldest sibling. Consequently, Sibling A with the help of Cousin A began to build a wall, too. Cousin’s A’s brother wasn’t even allowed to speak to his own mother! My dad’s sister, my Aunt Marie (who I’ve written about and spoken so fondly of), tried time and time again to reach out to Sibling A and even Cousin A but was treated horribly.

When Sibling A passed away in 2003, the obituary didn’t even list my dad or the other siblings still living. It was as if there weren’t anyone on that side of the family – that they were all “dead”. I guarantee that Cousin A’s brother wasn’t allowed to write that obituary because at the end Sibling A told the son, that there were many regrets – especially about cutting my dad out.

In the interim – since 1999 – I’ve mailed letters to other cousins on that side of the family and now enjoy wonderful relationships with first cousins. However, Cousin A has never written me back nor acknowledged my condolences when my dad’s sibling died. So a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Cousin A’s cousin on the other side (no relation to me). I explained about the falling out and how I hadn’t had any contact with that person. So the very nice gal said she would contact Cousin A for me – and she did.

Imagine my surprise on Monday when I arrived home from work to find a letter from Cousin A!  And guess what that letter basically said?  That our side of the family never treated Sibling A right so therefore Cousin A wanted no contact.

And guess what else? I am just as stubborn as Cousin A so I will be sending a follow up letter because for one thing – I always treated Sibling A correctly and another – life is too short for grudges. I really want to build a bridge and tear down that wall!

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