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My husband gave me a Kindle Fire for Christmas, and I am LOVING it!  I can sit on the couch with the kindle in my hands and listen to Pandora Radio (which I really like – especially the shuffle feature), scan the web, play Angry Birds (not very good at!), and read books. However, the one thing I can not do at this time is write blog posts.  WordPress doesn’t have an app that is compatible with the Kindle Fire. (Sad face)  It allows me to get into my dashboard and click (or rather, touch) the New Post icon. I can enter a title but I can’t write a post. This post was started on my Kindle – well, only the title. I spent quite awhile scanning for an app that will work but nothing. Oh, well. Apparently there’s supposed to be one coming – when, I don’t know.

I did download the Ancestry app which allows me to have my uploaded trees with me wherever I go. Handy if I happen to be at the library and come across something in a reference book. Then I can at least have the names and dates with me for guidance.

So what new technology did you get for Christmas or Hannukah? How are you using it for genealogy?

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Locating the maiden name of my second great-grandmother has taken over ten years.  If I had been able to order film from my local Family History Center, it could have taken several years less. However, thanks to the digitized Ohio death and marriage records on Familysearch.org, I was able to put a surname to the woman who married Florus Allen House (born Jan 5, 1913 in Connecticut, died June 25, 1891 in Tuscarawas, Coshocton, Ohio) on April 14, 1836.

From the death record of their daughter, Nancy Elizabeth House (m. Oscar DeLong), the informant, Mabel Harding (her daughter), listed Nancy’s mother’s name as Julia Lewis. Another family member’s death certificate also listed the name Julia Lewis. When I looked up the marriage record, on the off chance it had been digitized by Familysearch.org, I looked for Michigan marriage records because the story had been passed around that Florus and Julia Ann were married in Michigan. I found the marriage record – but not in Michigan – in Muskingum County, Ohio. Florus House and Julia Ann Lewis were married in that county!

Upon picking apart the short marriage detail in the book, I saw that after Julia’s name it read: “from Falls Township, Muskingum County.” Since they were married in 1836, I realized I should look at Census records from 1820 (when Julia was about five years old) through 1830.  In the 1820 Census records from Fall Township, I found the household of Able Lewis that had 2 females under the age of 10. In the 1830 Census in Falls Township, there were 2 females 10-15 years old. Both records fit Julia’s age. So who was this Able Lewis? Who was his wife?

In the Muskingum County Rootsweb archives list, I found a query from Nan E. Sabulsky, who posted on August 9, 1998:

Searching for decendents of John LEWIS b.abt. 1810 Muskingum co., Ohio married Eliza MCVAY in abt.1835 in Cochocton Co. I believe they lived in Falls Township,Muskingum Co. John’s father was Able Lewis and mother was Nancy ROBINSON of Falls Twnshp., Muskingum Co. John had a brother George and brother Edwin. He also had a sister, however I do not have her name.

Could this be the same family that I was looking for?  In the 1860 Census of Falls Township, Muskingum County, I found a George Lewis who had an eight year old daughter named Julia Ann. Could this George be the same person Mrs. Sabulsky referenced in her post? If he was Julia Ann’s brother, then possibly he named his daughter after his sister.

Digging further into the Able Lewis and Nancy Robinson family, I discovered that the spellings of the first name could either be Able or Abel. I also noticed that Robinson was Nancy’s name after her first marriage – her maiden name was either Johnson or Johnston, and she either went by Ann or Nancy.

Mrs. Sabulsky also lists a first wife for Abel Lewis, along with three children born before 1810.  She lists Abel Lewis birth as before 1775 in Pennsylvania and his death after 1825 in Ohio.  In another article (Schneider, Norris F. “Lodge of Amity”. Soldier Ant. 2 May 2003. Web.) was this information:

Abel Lewis became a Mason in White Horse Lodge No. 50 in Pennsylvania and worked as a visitor at American Union Lodge before coming to Zanesville. He was the first clerk of the court of common pleas in Muskingum County and postmaster of Zanesville in 1805. He became insane in 1813 and was supported by his Masonic brethren in the county jail until he escaped in 1826. He was never heard from again.

In a digitized book accessed on Google Books (Parker, Leonard Fletcher. “History of Poweshiek County, Iowa: a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, Volume 2.” 1911. Published by The S. J. Clarke publishing co. Original held by New York Public Library. Digitized 24 January 2008. Web.) was this article about Judge W.R. Lewis, son of John Lewis and Louisa A. Ramey, grandson of Abel Lewis:

JUDGE W. R. LEWIS.

With the work of framing as well as interpreting the laws of Iowa Judge W. R. Lewis has been closely associated, serving at different times as a member of the upper house of the state legislature and as judge of the circuit and district courts. Aside from this he has won a wide and enviable reputation as a learned lawyer, seldom, if ever, at fault in the application of a legal principle. For more

 

than a half century he has been a resident of Poweshiek county, having come here in the days of his early manhood, his birth having occurred near Zanesville, Muskingum county, Ohio, on the 12th of October, 1835. He was, therefore, about twenty-two years of age when he arrived in Poweshiek county and nine years later was admitted to the bar.

He comes of Welsh and German ancestry. His father, John M. Lewis, was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, his natal year being 1811. He was a son of Abel Lewis, who was born near White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, and was a college graduate. In the latter part of the eighteenth century he removed to Ohio and became a government surveyor in Muskingum and Coshocton counties. He took part in several of the Indian wars and was closely associated with many of the events which led to the reclamation of Ohio for the purpose of civilization. Following his marriage he established his home in Zanesville and there served as clerk of the court for four years. He was also the author of some mathematical works. Entering a large tract of land, he became interested in agricultural pursuits, took up his abode on his farm and spent the residue of his days there. For many years he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and his entire life was the exemplification of his Christian belief.

John M. Lewis, the father of Judge Lewis, married Louisa A. Ramey and settled upon a part of the old homestead, five and a half miles from Zanesville. Subsequently he took up his abode at New Castle, Coshocton county, Ohio, and engaged in merchandising as a member of the firm of Thornhill, Berry & Lewis. The discovery of gold, however, attracted him,to, California in 1851, the journey to the coast being made by way of the’ jsthrmts of Panama. He spent two years in prospecting and mining, in whicline was cf afcljj successful. He then returned to New Castle and soon afterward retired from business. He, too, belonged to the Methodist Episcopal churclT,-<and,,hisj)Qliiical allegiance was given to the republican party. His wife was born”in Muskingum county, a daughter of Sanford Ramey, a native of Virginia and of German descent. He became one of the early settlers of Ohio and his daughter Louisa was born and reared in that state. Her death occurred in 1886.

Judge Lewis, the eldest in a family of ten children, spent the first ten years of his life in his native county and then removed with his parents to Coshocton county, Ohio. For four or five years he attended school during the winter months, the remainder of the year being spent in assisting his father in the store. He was also at intervals engaged in farm work and took up the study of surveying. He read law in New Castle and while thus engaged followed the profession of surveying for several years. In 1856 he took the first step in the removals which brought him eventually to Iowa. In that year he became a resident of Southport, Peoria county, Illinois, where he worked at the carpenter’s trade and also spent a month in farm labor. During the winter he taught school at Southport and in the spring of 1857 he came to Montezuma, then a little village of four or five hundred inhabitants. Since that time he has continuously resided in Poweshiek county and has made for himself a high and eviable position in the regard of his fellowmen. Through the summer months he worked at carpentering or at other employment which he could secure and his evening hours were devoted to the further study of law. He thus soon qualified for admission to the bar but he determined not to seek admission until he felt that he could give his entire attention to law practice. He recognized the fact that to do this he must have a certain amount of capital to tide him over that initial period in the life of every lawyer when he must spend some time in waiting for clients.

In the fall of 1857 Judge Lewis secured the position of principal of the public schools and did splendid works as one of the early educators of Poweshiek county. While active in that capacity he was largely instrumental in organizing the teachers’ institute and he also graded the schools of Montezuma. This work alone would entitle him to the lasting gratitude of his fellow townsmen. In 1862 he was elected county superintendent of schools and before the expiration of his term was chosen by popular suffrage for the office of clerk of the county and district courts. In the latter position he served acceptably for a term, after which he resigned to form a partnership with Hon. M. E. Cutts, former member of congress, to conduct a milling business, which was carried on successfully for a great period, after which he sold out. For a year he occupied the position of deputy treasurer and for two years as a member of the county board of supervisors served as its chairman. He has ever regarded a public office as a public trust and it is well known that no public trust reposed in Judge Lewis has ever been betrayed in the slightest degree. Capable, diligent and loyal, he won the confidence and good-will of the public through his devotion to duty in the offices which he was called upon to fill in the earlier years of his residence here.

At length, feeling that the time was ripe when he might give his attention to his profession, in 1866 he applied for and secured admission to the bar and entered upon active practice, being associated for a time with the Hon. D. H. Emery, while later he became a partner of C. R. Clark. He won success because he wisely and conscientiously used the talents with which nature endowed him. An analytical mind enabled him to bring a trend of reasoning to its logical conclusion and to accurately apply the principles of law to the points at issue. His successful handling of cases early in his legal career awakened public confidence and brought him an increased clientage. In the fall of 1880 he was honored with election to the circuit court bench for the district embracing Poweshiek. Jefferson, Washington, Keokuk, Mahaska, Marion and Jasper counties, becoming the second circuit judge, his predecessor having been Judge Blanchard. After filling the position for four years the district was divided and he was elected judge of the first circuit, which included Jefferson, Washington, Keokuk and Poweshiek counties. He continued upon that bench until 1886, when, upon the abolishment of the circuit court, he was made one of the three judges for the district. There was keen strife for the office and Judge Lewis was not renominated by his party at the time but in response to the unanimous wish of his constituents he permitted his name to be used as an independent candidate and was elected by a sweeping majority. There was a prevailing belief that his defeat in the convention was due to unfair means and this contributed to his success at the polls. He retired from the bench in 1890, after a judicial service of ten years, and resumed the practice of law in Montezuma. A contemporary biographer has said of him:

“He is a man of great legal ability and while on the bench was a warm friend of the young practitioner. He never permitted a young lawyer to sacrifice his client’s interest if a word or suggestion from the court could help him. His decisions were rarely reversed. No district or circuit judge has a better record in the supreme court than Judge Lewis. So unerring were his views, especially in equity cases, that the attorneys in his court learned it was next to useless to appeal as he was nearly always sustained. He was slow in deciding but his work never had to be done a second time. As special counsel for the county in the famous cases against the Rowes and against the bondsmen of the defaulting treasurer he earned new laurels.”

Following his retirement from the bench Judge Lewis during the year 1891 acted as general manager for the Hawkeye Electric Manufacturing Company, with headquarters at Davenport, but in the fall of 1891 again took up his abode in Montezuma and has since been actively associated with the work of the courts and at seventy-five years of age has a large and lucrative law practice, doing as much court work as he ever did in his younger days. In addition he has proved his worth in the management of commercial interests. He was one of the organizers of the Montezuma Electric Light & Power Company, superintended the construction of the plant and took up the management of the business. He also superintended the erection and installation of the electric light works at Bloomfield and at Sigourney and assisted in surveying the route for the Grinnell & Montezuma Railroad. He made and published the first map of Poweshiek county and at all times has been closely associated with the growth and progress of the county not alone by reason of his connection with industrial and commercial affairs or with the legal profession but also because he has been the champion of every project and measure which he deemed of value in the public life of the community. He was again called to office in the fall of 1897, when he was nominated by acclamation for the state senate at the republican convention of the twelfth senatorial district, comprising Poweshiek and Keokuk counties. The election showed that he was the popular candidate and for four years he remained a member of the upper house. He gave careful consideration to each question which came up for settlement and left the impress of his individuality and ability upon the laws enacted during that period.

In 1865, in Burlington, Vermont, Mr. Lewis was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Cutts, a daughter of Edwin Cutts, of Brandon, Vermont, and a sister of M. E. Cutts, of Oskaloosa. The marriage relation between them was always of a most ideal character and the deepest grief in the life of Judge Lewis came to him in the death of his wife on the 10th of April, 1893.

Fraternally Judge Lewis is connected with Masonry as a Knight Templar and belongs also to the Iowa Legion, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and to the Iowa State Bar Association. He has never faltered in his stalwart support of the republican party and its principles and has served as chairman of the county central committee. He was a member of the first city council of Montezuma and while important political interests relative to the work of the courts and to the law-making body of the state have claimed his attention he has never considered himself above the duties connected with the management of local interests. A lifelong member of the Presbyterian church, he has served as elder and trustee and for a number of years was superintendent of the Sunday school, in which position he continued until his election to the bench. He is today one of the oldest residents of Montezuma in years of continuous connection with the city, and among the men of Poweshiek county who have been long in public service the record of none has been more constant in honor, fearless in conduct and stainless in reputation.

There is solid documentation that any of these people are the family of my Julia Ann Lewis. However, I have information that I can try to disprove now. The one thing I do know is that Julia Ann Lewis is my second great-grandmother – who her parents and siblings were is still up for debate until I find hard evidence.

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Margaret Maple is my third great-grandmother.  She is person #5208 in my Family Tree Maker database.  My relationship to her is as follows:

  1. Margaret Maple m. George Peter Werts on September 20, 1827.
  2. Their second child and son was William Washington Werts who married Louisa Bookless on August 24, 1852.
  3. William and Louisa’s second child and first daughter, Mary Angelina Werts, married William Henry Amore on December 14, 1872.
  4. Their fourth child and third son, William Loyd Amore, married Ella Maria House on April 11, 1903.
  5. Loyd and Ella’s seventh child and fifth son is my dad.

Margaret was born to William B. Maple and Mary Fuller on December 22, 1808 in Coshocton, Ohio.  The county of Coshocton was two years away from being created by authority of the State of Ohio.  By the 1820′s it was well on its way to being a major center of commerce due to the Canal. (Ohio History Central)

Margaret was the first wife of George Peter Werts. They had eight children: Julia Ann b. June 25, 1828; William Washington b. Dec. 25, 1829; John Jackson b. Feb. 6, 1831; Susanna b. Oct. 9, 1832;  Mary Jane b. Mar. 14, 1834; Jacob Henry b. Nov. 11, 1835; Catherine Shroyer b. Apr. 30, 1838; and George Peter Wesley b. Apr. 4, 1841.   After Margaret died in Muskingum County, Ohio, on May 13, 1851, her husband married two more times.

Her parents, William B. Maple, and Mary Fuller, married on January 4, 1800 in the area that would become Coshocton County.  Both of them had come to Ohio from their birthplace of Maryland.  William was born abt July 16, 1778 and Mary was born in April 1782.  Both of them died in Peoria, Illinois.

William was the son of Jacob Maple and Elizabeth Stanford who were married in Middlesex County, New Jersey on January 27, 1769 – many years before America would fight for her independence. 

Jacob was the son of Benjamin Maple Jr.  and Sarah Clare Lee who were married in probably New Jersey.  Benjamin was born about 1696 in Burlington County, New Jersey and Sarah was born in 1700 in New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey.  It has been reported that Benjamin was the Constable for New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1728.  He on November 26, 1777 in Windsor, Middlesex County, New Jersey.

Benjamin Jr. was the son of Benjamin Maple Sr. and Elizabeth Lee who married on June 4, 1695 in Burlington, New Jersey.  He was born in 1663 in Suffolk, England and died on May 13, 1727 in New Jersey.

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Randy Seaver, of Genea-Musings, posted his SNGF via Michael John Neill’s RootDig post, 10 Signs You Have Genealogy OCD, and asked fellow geneabloggers to post their own 10 Signs of Genealogy OCD.  So here are mine:

  1. You overhear people at church, the supermarket, or standing in any line, mention they are headed to Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, or Indiana for vacation and tell them that you have ancestors buried there.
  2. You see an ancestral name on one of your fellow geneablogger’s websites or blog and ask them for a gedcom in order to determine if you are distantly related.
  3. Your spouse asks you if you know anyone buried there each time you pass a cemetery.
  4. You check for library books that mention your ancestor’s regiment in the Civil War in hopes of finding a picture that he might be in.
  5. You read everything you can about Abraham Lincoln because the story passed down mentions that your great-grandfather shook hands with him in hopes of figuring out where, when and how that might have occured.
  6. You check familysearch.org several times a day hoping that there are new or updated databases for Ohio and Indiana.
  7. You pester your local library about getting Ancestry Library edition because your 6 month free trial from your FTM 2011 software ran out and you really only got to use it for about 30 days.
  8. You schedule your Friday nights around “Who Do You Think You Are?” when they have new shows.
  9. Your family knows your genealogy “happy dance” all too well and scatter before you can tell them why you are excited and what new information you’ve found.
  10. The only genealogy information your family wants to hear about is when there are scandals involved – and the closer the ancestor – the better!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this – have you seen yourself in any of mine?

 

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Mary Angeline Werts Amore

Mary Angeline Werts was born to William Washington Werts and Louisa Bookless on February 16, 1855 in Linton Township, Coshocton County, Ohio.  Her father died when she was two years old leaving Lousia to raise Mary and her older brother, George.  In the 1860 Census both children are living with others.  In 1961 Louisa married John Simon and three years later they had a daughter, Sarah Ellen.  On December 14, 1872, Mary married William Henry Amore.  In 1881 Mary lost her brother, George.

Mary – known as “Annie” and “Henry” had seven children – a daughter first, followed by six sons (“Clemmie”, “Zade”, Roy, Lloyd, Rollo, Bert, and Clarence).  The family was very involved with the Salvation Army.  I just didn’t realize how involved Annie was until I ran across an article from the Coshocton Tribune dated December 14, 1941 (nine days after Annie passed away).

In the “Fife and Drum” column written by Al Cline, he stated, “Back a quarter century ago, at the Christmas times even before the first World war, you might have seen a tiny, birdlike woman, her face rosy with cold, standing on one of Coshocton’s snow-swept street corners, ringing a Salvation Army bell.”  He went on to state that before many people knew what the Salvation Army was is when she joined as one of its first members. She was called “Mother” Amore, and as Cline reported, “very few people knew her first name was Mary. And there is no record how many derelicts she took into her little house, gave a bed and breakfast and sent on their way, because the true spirit of Christmas was with Mother Amore the year round.”

There were many Sundays she walked from her home in Roscoe to the Salvation Army home so she wouldn’t miss a service. My great-grandmother (her son Lloyd was my grandfather) saw the new citadel finished in 1929 when she was in her 70s. Unfortunately that was about the time she fell and was hurt pretty bad.  The columnist reported that for more than ten years after her fall, Mother Amore was “an uncomplaining invalid, tied to her bed and crutch.”  Salvation Army Captain Douglas Bethune told Al Cline that he always had a strange feeling in her house; one that felt as if she was comforting him instead of the other way around when he came to call on her weekly after her fall.

Cline summed up his story by writing, “I guess this is a story of faith. Mother Amore had faith, like an imperishable little . . . flame, burning inside her and shining thru her eyes. It took faith and vision to help build the snug Salvation Army citadel, and it took faith to lie calmly in bed, at 86, and wait for the quiet touch of death.”

As I read that article, tears sprung from my eyes.  No, I didn’t know my great-grandmother in the traditional sense (I also did not know my grandfather as he died six years before I was born).  I didn’t even really know her through memories of others.  The only thing my dad has said is that she was in bed all the time.  He was an adult by the time she died – so perhaps I can find out more about this woman from him.

However, I did learn a lot about this woman, just from this article.  It told me that she didn’t complain about any hardship that she encountered.  Whether she learned this at a young age from losing her father and then her brother and being “farmed out” from her mother, I don’t know.  I have a sense that she seemed to always have a sense of purpose – helping people, nurturing them, giving hope to others, and bringing the word of God into the lives of those who didn’t know Him. 

I have three pictures of Annie – the picture above is one that my cousin, Sharon Amore Brittigan, uploaded to Ancestry.  The picture below is one that my family has also shared with me of Henry and Annie and their children.  One other photo I have shows the couple surrounded by loving family members on the occasion of the first Amore reunion held at their home.

Annie died on December 5, 1941 seven years after losing her husband, Henry. Her funeral was held in the Salvation Army citadel and she was buried in Roscoe Cemetery.

R.I.P. Great-grandmother (“Mother”) Amore.

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As I’ve been combing through pages and pages upon MORE pages of public Family Trees people have uploaded to Ancestry, I’ve discovered quite a bit of incorrect dates, places, spouses, children, etc. (hard to believe, I know!) I decided that the best way to either have the information corrected – or at least to make sure others realize that there are errors, is to leave comments giving documentation and sources for the correct facts.

So my Tuesday Tip is this – leave a comment wherever you find what I like to call “fictional” information – especially on Ancestry (but on any website you find with inaccuracies) – so others will have a better view of the correct information.

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This past weekend as I perused newspaper articles in Ancestry, I ran across a boatload of information concerning some distant cousins and an in-law of one of my great uncles.

Susan Peterson posted on her blog, Long Lost Relatives, an article, What To Do With Skeletons in the Closet” on February 26, 2011. She asked some pertinent questions (I urge you to go and read what she posted).  When I ran across all the information that made it abundantly clear that not only does our family have skeletons in the closet, but some scandals, and then those who are just plain screwed up, I realized that I would have to answer those questions.  My belief is that if the involved individuals are deceased – and more importantly – that the next generation is also deceased, and if the information is a matter of public record – especially when it was in the newspaper or on a document that anyone could obtain, then I will tell the story.  If there are truly sensitive aspects, I won’t lay them out in such detail, but respect the fact that there are possible descendents who either don’t know or have chosen not to acknowledge such behavior. 

A little over a year ago, I wrote Georgia On My Mind about my great-grandfather’s niece, Georgia Amore. This weekend I’ve learned some new information in addition to bits and pieces I’ve discovered since I wrote that. Soon, you’ll see that post again – with all the newest items added!

Many years ago when I first started my genealogical journey, a cousin mailed me some information – before either of us were proficient at scanning – and my email system back then wouldn’t even allow attachments. If it had, I’m sure it would have taken a very long time to download as I was still on dial up. One of the news clippings he mailed to me concerned someone who died in prison fairly recently in genealogy time (the 1970s). The man had the same last name as my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Neither of us had heard of him or even if he was part of “our” House family. Fast forward ten years and I’ve made a connection – and a pretty sad one at that. Some of you might remember the series I wrote about my grandmother’s brother, Alva Lester House, – Lester’s Despair – Part One and More Tragedy for Lester House, concerning several losses that he experienced during his life.  The news clipping concerns Lester’s son and his grandsons.  After I assemble all of the new items, I will write a post about what I’ve learned.

Another news item that caught my eye, was about my great-uncle’s sister-in-law.  I found it only because I’d put my maiden name as a keyword to search Coshocton newspapers.  I saw the name “Mayme Amore” (first name spelled incorrectly) and wondered what it was about.  She was married to my grandfather’s brother, Roy. (Yes, a real consanquity chart would say that Roy is my grand-uncle, but as I’ve mentioned before, I grew up having him referred to as my great uncle.)  I clicked on the news article and it was about Mamie testifying at her sister’s trial.  Whoa!  What? A trial?  What sort of trial?  And that my dear readers, is something you’ll have to ponder for awhile – but I will give you the answer and all the particulars soon!

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Many, many years ago (around 10), as I was posting queries to message boards searching for information on my paternal Amore side of the family, I ran across a woman who I began an email relationship with.  She was the granddaughter of my great-uncle Clarence Amore and his first wife, Nellie Buchanan.  Sharon shared some pictures and what information she had, and I returned the favor.  We were both of the same generation, both great-granddaughter’s of our mutual ancestor William “Henry” Amore and Mary Angelina (Annie) Werts (or Wertz – depending on how they were spelling it at the time).  I believe that would make Sharon and I second cousins.  Her grandfather, Clarence, and my grandfather, Lloyd, were brothers.  The really cool thing (for me) was that Uncle Clarence and Aunt Mary (his second wife) had spent several days visiting us in our home.  I was only a small child, but I remember him very well and would always get a hug from him at the big Amore-Baker reunion held every summer in Coshocton, Ohio.  Not only did we share family history information but we shared stories about our immediate families. 

The communication between Sharon and I slowed in the last five years or so.  Once the initial “newness” of the family history search wore off, we weren’t corresponding as much as we had because the information we found didn’t come as quickly as before.  Sharon’s husband was very ill and needed treatment for cancer, so she spent quite a bit of time with him instead of traveling to find records.  She had written in December of 2004 to let me know that her husband’s cancer had returned and he was to start his chemo treatments as soon as his radiation treatments were over.  Two months later Bob Brittigan passed away.  Now that I think about it, she didn’t email to let me know and I was remiss for not contacting her with better frequency.  I know I’ve emailed her since then, but I’m sure that in her grief and stress that happens after a death (will, taking care of personal issues), it wasn’t important enough for her to contact me. 

Last week I thought I’d see if she was on Facebook – I’d looked before without any luck – and couldn’t find her so I did a google search of her name.  That’s how I discovered that her husband had passed away in February 2005.  I also ran across a listing in the Social Security Index for a “Sharon Brittigan”.  Not my cousin! was my first thought.  But the year of birth seemed correct and the state of issue would have been right.  Finally, I hit upon her obituary via Ancestry.  Sharon died on July 9, 2009.  No cause of death listed other than she died at her home.  I couldn’t tell if she was cremated because it listed the time for her memorial service as well as interment.  I don’t know if she had been ill for awhile.  I have no way of contacting her sons or siblings to express my condolences.  I feel as if I lost a cousin – even though we had never met in person. 

Picture from her obituary in the Washington Post

Sharon Lynn (Amore) Brittigan, widow of Robert Lee Brittigan, Sr. born on January 18, 1943 died on July 9, 2009 at her home in Virginia.  She is survived by two brothers, one sister, two sons, and six grandchildren.  Sharon was preceded in death by her parents, Theodore William Amore, on December 2, 1981 and Dorothy Belle (Moran) Amore on February 13, 2003. Sharon was buried next to her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.

In an email she wrote to me in January 2002, she said, “I’m working on a combined family book that incorporates the history of the times they lived in. It’s a challenge, but I’m learning an awful lot about what all the forebears lives must (or could) have been like. I’ve been to many of the places they came from and can describe those locales as a part of the history.”  I hope that if there really was a beginning family history book, that her children have preserved and kept it instead of abandoning it to that “black hole” where so many ancestral stories, documents, and pictures have gone.  I hope that one day, one of her sons or grandchildren will be searching the web and run across this blog, and get in touch with me.  I’d love to have copies of what she wrote.  What better way to remember her memory then to put her notes and words to use in helping our future Amore generations learn about their ancestors.

Rest in peace, Sharon.

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My fellow geneablogger, Randy Seaver, of Genea-Musings has written several wonderful articles on Sources in Family Tree Maker 2011. The information has been very informative and has helped me immensely! Thanks, Randy!

I’m hoping that he or someone else can help me with a few other tidbits related to FTM 2011:

  1. In previous versions I could filter the individual list by women’s married name.  This really helps when I’m on Find a Grave and come across a transcription.  Sometimes it doesn’t list the maiden name of the woman, so in FTM 2011, I’m left to scan through several of the males to see if the wife has the same name as the person I found.  The previous way, I could find the woman more easily.  So my question – how do I filter by married name? Or is this even possible in FTM 2011?
  2. Okay – maybe that’s the extent of my observations right now!  I had wondered about the medical information and cause of death that I had entered in a previous version, but I’ve located that information as it shows up under the individual facts.

If anyone can help answer question #1  (Randy?!), I’d appreciate it!

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Twenty seven years ago today, I was at work when my boss, the owner of the printing company for which I worked, opened the door to the graphics room and told me I had a phone call.  It was early afternoon and I still had an hour or so of work yet. No one usually called me at work.  As soon as I heard my brother’s voice, I knew.  I knew because that was how I had envisioned it happening a week or so before.  It wouldn’t be my mom calling me or anyone else – it would be my brother.  The words he spoke brought forth too many polarizing emotions.  I didn’t have to wonder anymore about when it would happen.  I knew that a life lived had been to the absolute fullest.  I knew that while everyone else in the family would be falling apart, that I would draw on my inner strength and remain strong for them.  This woman we spoke of had been a constant in my life since birth – the only grandmother that I knew.  When it seemed that my life was falling apart throughout different periods, she was my champion. When I was at my absolute lowest and disappointing everyone else, she hugged me and let me know that no matter what she wouldn’t be mad at me and would love me unconditionally.  Walking into my grandparents’ apartment later that evening and seeing my grandfather all dressed up in a suit – for he had been waiting to go see his beloved wife – stabbed my heart.  My mother expressed that my grandmother had really wanted to see her newest great-granddaughter, my baby, just a little over a month old, and had never gotten to.  I broke down in grief.

Within a week the family gathered to remember this matriarch of our family.  We laughed and we cried.  Six of us – grandchildren and great-grandchildren – were pallbearers.  It was such a cold day – the day we carried the casket out of the church into the waiting hearse.  Snow covered the ground.  We traveled to the cemetery and had a final service in the chapel.  It would be several more years before I went to the gravesite.  When I did return, it would be to visit not only my grandmother and my mom’s baby sister, but also my grandfather, who wasn’t able to go on after the love of his life was gone.  He passed away a year less a day after she did.

Like me, my grandmother was a child of divorced parents.  When I was young and going through the rough patches of my parents animosity, she would always comfort me and tell me she knew what I felt.  As a young child, I used to spend weekends with my grandparents.  I was the youngest of their eight grandchildren – by fourteen years – so to say that I was spoiled by them is an understatement!  In my defense, I never asked for them to spoil me and in their defense, during the time the others were young and growing, my grandparents lived in Germany and were always traveling due to my grandfather’s military duty or for pleasure.  They missed a lot of holidays and birthdays with my siblings and cousins.

Vesta Christena Wilt was born on May 7, 1898 in Noblesville, Indiana to Joseph N. Wilt and Martha Jane Stern.  She was the oldest girl and fourth child.  Another daughter and son followed her.  Before she was 12, her parents had divorced.  Her mother married her widowed brother-in-law, Frank Clawson.  The family moved from Noblesville to Anderson, Indiana and on Easter Sunday 1916 she met the man she would spend the rest of her life with.  Vesta dated Glen Roy Johnson for several months and the two got married at Martha and Frank’s house on Christmas Eve 1916.  The following December their first child, a son named after his father, was born. As the years went by the family added their first daughter, Genevieve, and then a second daughter, Mary (my mother), and lastly baby Lois Evelyn who was born prematurely and died just a little over 2 months later.

 

My grandmother knew her own heartache. She was separated from her beloved Glen for quite awhile while he went to training for the Signal Corps and then went overseas to France during WWI.  She had been separated from her mother and two youngest siblings after Martha moved to Oregon before my mother was born.  She lost a baby and then much later watched her oldest daughter suffer from a brain tumor and ultimately succumb to another inoperable one.  She lost the father that she hadn’t seen for so long without having that estranged relationship mended.  As the years wore on, she watched her youngest daughter struggle and grieve for the end of an almost 30 year marriage.  She lost her mother and three brothers.  She sat by her husband’s hospital bedside for months as he recuperated from a blood cot on his brain that he had suffered in a fall.

Then her health began to fail.  She wasn’t a stranger to health issues – having one ailment and surgery or another throughout her adult life.  But after she broke her elbow in the early 1970s, she was never as healthy as she had been.  All too soon she was experiencing a heart attack every three months.  I was very scared about losing her – not only for myself but for what it would do to my mother. After hospital stays and a change in her diet and medication, it seemed she rallied from the heart issues (although they were still there). 

The family would gather for a surprise birthday we had for her at our house.  She was so surprised when she walked in through the garage to the dining room and most of her family.  Then there was the 60th wedding anniversary celebration at their apartment complex.  Long time friends, church friends, military friends, and the family and extended family came to honor them.  We were only missing one of my cousins and her family.

I moved away for awhile and when I returned back to my hometown, I realized just how she had aged – my grandfather too.  I knew that as the years had ticked by, time was winding down for their life among us.  My grandfather had been the one who had several health issues before I had moved away and I guess I had thought that he might be the one to go first.  Then she was hospitalized and then again several weeks later.  That visit was one she wouldn’t return home from.  I learned later that she had told the apartment manager as the EMTs were wheeling her to the ambulance to make sure her husband would be okay.  Did she know she wouldn’t come home? Did she decide that it would be okay to go if it was her time?

My grandmother – Vesta Wilt Johnson – born on May 7, 1898 – died on January 19, 1984.  My grandfather – Glen Roy Johnson – born November 21, 1898 – died on January 18, 1985.  They were the glue of the family.  There are times during holidays and celebrations, the family left an empty chair – in honor of our grandmother.  Our Beloved Nana – the woman whose “grandmother” moniker I have assumed for my own grandchildren – the woman whom I will never live up to as a grandmother – the woman who is always beside me in times of trouble – smiling and cheering me on.

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