Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Trapp & Dailey

I really love newspaper accounts of weddings. Sometimes they are just so inaccurate.



There They Were Married and To Lexington They Will Return - Happy Ending of a Courtship That Begun in This City a Year Or Two Ago - The Story as Told by Mr. Trapp's Friends.

It's Cupid's time to laugh again at the genius of the locksmith and the watchfulness of parents. Yesterday, probably in Canada, Mr. William C. Trapp, of this city, and Miss Mary Daly of Detroit, were married. The marriage is said to have been a genuine elopement that had been planned for some months. The announcement will doubtless be a surprise to Mr. Trapp's friends in this city.

The contracting parties are very well known in Lexington. Miss Daly came to Lexington in 1891 as a teacher of instrumental music at Hamilton College. She remained with that institution for one year and then returned to her home in Detroit. Miss Daly was a highly accomplished young woman and made a host of friends during her residence in this city.

The fortunate groom, Mr. William C. Trapp, is mailing clerk in the post office, and is very well known in this city. It was while Miss Daly was at Hamilton College that Mr. Trapp's affection ripened into love. The story goes at the school that the young lovers had no end of trifling lovers' quarrels, and that upon one or more occasions they parted, apparently for good.

Miss Daly has visited Lexington once or twice during the past two years, and Mr. Trapp is said to have renewed his suit at every opportunity. Some time ago, he confided to one of his best friends the secret that he was going to Detroit very soon and that he and Miss Daly would go over into Canada and be married. He said no more about the matter until Wednesday afternoon when he imparted to his friend the information that he was going to Detroit on the 4:45 train, and that if his plans went through he would bring a bonnie bride back to Lexington with him.

Friday evening the friend received a telegram dated Detroit which read: "I played in luck." That was all, and the friend knew a wedding had taken place.

Yesterday, Mr. David Trapp, the well known young attorney, received a telegram from his brother at Detroit informing him of the marriage.

Mr. and Mrs. Trapp are expected in Lexington day. They will probably live with Mr. Trapp's mother on South Limestone. The story as written above was gleaned from several friends of Mr. Trapp by a LEADER man, but none seemed to know the full particulars of the wedding. Although all agreed that was an elopement none knew the reason why the young couple found it best to elope.
 [The Next day's paper tells what really occurred.]


Arrive in Lexington and Take Up Temporary Quarters at the Former's Home.
Mr. and Mrs. William C. Trapp arrived in Lexington Sunday morning and will spend a few days with Mr. Trapp's mother, at 99 South Limestone street, before going to housekeeping. They are receiving the congratulations of a host of friends. Mr. Trapp and his bride, who was Miss Elvie Dailey, were married at the home of the bride's parents on Third avenue, in Detroit Friday evening at 8 o'clock, by Rev. Mr. Grinnell. They left Detroit that evening at 9:30 o'clock, spent Saturday in Cincinnati and came to Lexington Sunday morning.

The report that the wedding was in the nature of an elopement grew out of the mystery attending Mr. Trapp's movements when he left Lexington and some remarks dropped to throw off some inquisitive friends.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Research Results With a Little Help From My OCFRD*

When I search for obituaries, marriage notices and other newspaper articles, the best I hope for is more information on the family. Sometimes I get really lucky and get a tribute such as the one I posted recently on Elizabeth Chapman Graves Coleman. From that tribute, I discovered that Elizabeth and her husband, Samuel Coleman had eight children, two of whom died very young, and a son, Samuel Woodson Coleman who died at the age of 26. Further research gave me an estimate of his birth around 1833 and death around 1859. Unfortunately, I've not found any more on him or a record of his marriage and the name of his child.

But from this one tribute I've found:

Names of all the children who lived to adulthood of Samuel & Elizabeth Coleman:

1. Daughter Mary E Coleman & husband Levi Prewitt, six children, two daughters who married & their spouses. Working on their descendants.

2. Daughter Lucy Hawes Coleman & husband James T. (J.T.) Calloway; their children Woodson "Woodie" Calloway & Coleman Calloway. Woodie's husband was Wm. T. White; Coleman's wife was Elizabeth Laudeman.

3. Daughter Adda or Addie Coleman married Willard Davis. I wrote about his death notice the other day. They lived in Topeka, Kansas. Willard was Attorney General in the 1870's in Kansas. He died in 1885, Adda died in 1911 in Kansas City. Their children were Clyde Davis (female) who married Alvin Connelly and Levi Prewitt Davis aka Prewitt Davis. 

4. Daughter Anna Coleman & spouse Samuel T. Willis. Their daughters challenged me as they are only named as Mrs. Beverly Jouett (Susan Willis), Mrs. Prewitt Van Meter (Elizabeth Willis), and Mrs. William Mithoefer (Annie Willis). In addition to the three daughters, there were four sons: Benjamin Willis, Coleman Willis - who married and died in Tennessee, and Carlton Willis. Benjamin & Carlton and Annie Mithoefer are providing a challenge.

5.  Son, Benjamin L. Coleman, married Isabella Milligan and had two children: Robert Milligan Coleman & Eleanor Coleman. Eleanor married Meredith Johnston. Eleanor and Meredith at one time owned Claremont Manor on the James River in Virginia. They are even mentioned in the book: Claremont Manor: A History. Unfortunately the only copy is through a partner of Amazon for $182.80. Not going to happen. I didn't even find it in the Allen County Public Library Catalog. Darn. Meredith and Eleanor Coleman Johnston divorced and the last trace I find of her is aboard ship sailing for France in February 1930. Meredith died in 1950 in North Carolina. There is also an intriguing newspaper article about the house that appears in the Lexington (Kentucky) Leader in 1925. That went on my to do list.

6.  Son, Samuel Woodson Coleman, born circa 1833 and died circa 1859. He was married with one child, when he died at the age of 26.

All this from one newspaper tribute. Usually the best you can hope for in a wife or widow's obituary is her first name - I have way too many who even on their death certificate are referred to as Mrs. So-and-So. It's a real pleasure to find as much as I have in the past week. This information was all gathered using,, Family Search pilot site, Missouri State Archives Death Certificate Project, Shelby County Tennessee death records and marriage records that were available online, the Fayette County, Kentucky Genweb, the Lexington Public Library Local History Index, the Lexington Cemetery online index and Find-A-Grave. My research covered Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. I found obituaries, marriages announcements, will notices,and other newspaper articles, census, death certificates and marriage certificates.

At one point in my search, I had so many tabs open on my browser that I had to scroll right and left to get to the databases I was searching. If I had found nothing else on my trip, just this one tribute has added information and color to my family history.

*Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, June 28, 2010

Relatively Speaking, Cousins That Blog

Before my wonderful DH and I packed up the car, the laptop, the cemetery kit and to-do lists and hauled off to Lexington for some research, I had the following conversation with the Wild Ones about publishing:

Me:   Have any of you obtained an ISBN for the books you've published?

Them: No.

Then the discussion got into whether or not I was self-publishing or whether I would have someone print for me. Thank heaven for these women, because they reminded me of something I had forgotten - INKJET ink is NOT WATERPROOF.

I am so glad that they reminded me of that because I was thinking of printing a couple quick copies to take with me on the trip to share with family members. They advised me of how awful it would be something was spilled on something I had put so much work into and ruined it. Whew! Of course, unless I get my rear in gear and proofread all those letters, I won't have to worry about having it printed before I leave.

So until then, I remain the only Wild One who has not published!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sympathy Saturday - Edwin J Sauer

 Today's funeral card is for Edwin J. Sauer, born September 15, 1911 and died February 26, 1979.

The funeral home was in Detroit, Michigan. I think it's possible this card came from my Aunt Margie's collection, but I can't be certain.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, June 25, 2010

Prepping for Another Trip

A couple nights ago, DH and I made travel arrangements for our next trip. Unlike the research trip to Lexington, this trip is geared towards meeting up with family and friends back in our Michigan birthplace. We do have a couple nights planned, however, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I sure hope it is cooler there than it was in Lexington, even though we are going in July. Not for me, because I'll be in the stacks at the Allen County Public Library, but for DH, who enjoys walking the downtown streets, searching for restaurants, historic sites and museums.

With this trip in mind, I looked at my ACPL to-do list to see if there was anything I needed to add, subtract or enhance.

On our visit last year, I concentrated on books. This year, I am concentrating on films. I need another peak at the Vermont Vital records

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I love researching at the Lexington Cemetery. I can rarely think of a time when I haven't been surprised by something I wasn't searching for. Mainly this is because the people I find are not listed in the online index or they are entered incorrectly.

Such was the case last week when I found a headstone for William V.A. Kemp and his wife, Fannie Allen Higgins. First, I had no idea whom Fannie had married, so was pleasantly surprised when I discovered their monument in Section I last Friday morning. However, when I went online to find their section and plot, it was incorrectly entered in the database. After emailing them with the correction, I received a notification this morning that the correction had been made. How great is that?

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Everything But the Kitchen Sink

I have no idea how the Lexington Public Library managed to index this newspaper article, but something key was left out of it - can you find it?

From the Lexington Leader, November 4, 1894.


Never has a more beautiful wedding been solemnized in Lexington than the one which occurred last night at the Central Christian Church. The pretty new church was handsomely decorated by Mrs. Honaker, and was a perfect triumph of the florist's skill. During the time of waiting for the wedding party the immense audience was treated to a charming musical programme. Prof. A. M. Gutzsit, of Paris, at the organ and six members of Saxton's string band rendered such enchanting music that the time of waiting was a season of delight. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Dr. R. T. Mathews, the retiring pastor of the church.

At ten minutes to eight the glad strains of Lohengrin's wedding march burst for announcing the approach of the bridal train, and emerging from a room on either side came the bridesmaids and groomsmen. The maids, led by Miss Marry Berryman filed down the right aisle, and the groomsmen, led by Mr. John Payne, down the left, forming an escort for the bride as she came up the center aisle, leaning upon the arm of her father.

Never did fairer, lovelier bride grace a wedding. Her rich satin gown fell in graceful folds about the petite figure, the filmy clouds of illusion half concealing the sweet face with its soft brown eyes beaming with happiness. A single rose bud, and a diamond star, the grooms gift, confined the floating veil upon her shapely head. Preceding the bride up the aisle came the lovely sister, Miss Alice, as maid of honor, in an exquisite gown of yellow satin and chiffon. She reminded one of a "Pearls of the Garden," the loveliest of yellow roses.

As the fair bride took her stand before the waiting minister she was met by the groom and his best man, Mr. Russell Railey, who also came from a room at the right. Against the effective background of palms and ferns with occasional glimpses of chrysanthemums stood the wedding party, forming a beautiful tableau.

Surrounded by her maids, as lovely a group of girls as one would care to look upon, and by the handsome attendants, the beautiful marriage ceremony (with slight changes by the officiating minister) of the Episcopal Church was read, the golden circlet was slipped upon her slender finger and the happy maid became a happier wife.

The bridesmaids were Misses Mary Berryman, Virginia Lisle, Mary S. Payne, Lucille Fuller of Washington City, Ada Railey, Sara Bullock and Katie Graves of Louisville.  They wore exquisite toilettes of white satin skirts and chiffon waists, and carried bunches of yellow chrysanthemums. The groomsmen were Messrs. John Payne, Nat Pettit, Will Samuels, Ben Bruce, Tom Bradley, James Reed and Craik Jackson, of Frankfort.

After the ceremony at the church a handsome reception was given at the residence of the bride on North Upper Street. The house was a veritable bower with its flowers and music, and merrily flew the time until the hour grew late. Around the bride's table the eighteen principal actors of the interesting event were seated.

This table was a perfect symphony in white and green. In the center the bride's cake with its veil of spun candy, and around it was formed an artistic wreath of white rose buds and ferns. Tall crystal vases stood at intervals upon this table containing snowy chrysanthemums, and white waxen candles in silver candle sticks with white and silver shades, gave an added beauty to the beautiful scene.

The cutting of the bride's cake caused great merriment, for this is supposed to decide the fate of some of the fair maids. Miss Mary Berryman got the ring, so she is to be the next bride from this bevy of girls. To Miss Fuller fell the darning needle, the thrifty housewife or the o.m. (we won't say the words), which does it mean? Miss Alice Bradley got the thimble. That means whatever the needle leaves for it, old maid or thrifty housewife, these two maidens will have to settle it between them. Miss Payne got the coin, so she's to be wealthy, that's settled.

At two other round tables, one in yellow, the other in pink, the guests were served in turn to a tempting supper prepared by Klien of Louisville. At 10:30 the happy pair slipped away and left on the Q & C for a Southern tour. After they left the inspiring music started the dancers and for several hours this was the pleasant pastime.

Mrs. O. L. Bradley, the bride's mother, wore a beautiful costume of heliotrope silk, with rare point lace garniture. She looked exceedingly youthful and handsome, and more like a sister of the bride than her mother. Mrs. C. L. Railey, the groom's mother was very handsome in a gown of pearl brocade satin and lace. Misses Anne Woolfolk wore turquoise blue with black bodice, a wreath of blue roses around the decollete neck; Katherine Monroe, pink chiffon; Mary Neale, white muslin; Rida Payne, white muslin over blue; Nancy Lisle, pink silk; Miriam Lisle, pink and white striped gauze; Mina Goodloe, ivory satin; Clara Dudley, pink organdy; Bettie Prague, of Covington, black net, and Laetitia McCauley, green crepe.

Among those present were Mesdames John R. Allen, in an airy beautiful gown of black, with pink roses; Charles F. Brower, in black and blue satin and chiffon; Ed L. Price, in rose colored satin and chiffon; W. S. Barnes, pale green brocade satin pink and green striped bodice; Percy S. Talbert, ivory satin pearl passementerie; Louis desCognets, pink satin and black net; Will K. Massie, blue silk; Len Cox, blue silk; Sam J. Roberts, blue silk cerise velvet garniture; Roger D. Williams, black chiffon, crimson roses; L. C. Stedman, pink silk ruby, velvet trimmings; James G. White black gown; A. B. Chinn, black silk cerise garniture; Edith Cox, black lace;  W. H. Boswell, black silk, Anna desCognets black silk and lace; T. D. Ballard, silk and lace.

The gentlemen present were Clarence Bradley, of Chicago; Elliot Shanklin, P. S. Talberg, Smith Bowman, S. J. Roberts, Warren Frazier, Gray Falconer, C. L. Railey, Craik Jackson, Tom Bradley, W. C. Samuels, Natt Pettitt, Dudley Short, C. F. Brower, Roger D. Williams, Garland Barr, Rogers Clay, J. R. Allen, Robert Wooley, Rev. R. T. Mathews, Louis desCognets; Dr. R. L. Kinnaird, A. B. Chinn, G. A. DeLong, W. H. Boswell, George Graves, Jas. F. DeLong, Joe La Compte, E. L. Hutchinson, Prof. J. G. White, Major R. S. Bullock, W. K. Massie, Charley Bradley, Russell Railey, Byron, of New York; Frank Bullock, L. C. Stedman, E. L. Price, Capt. T. J. Bush, Andrew Leonard, Paul Justice, L. G. Cox, Tom Pepper, John Payne, Ben Bruce, James Reed, Sam Blaine, and others.

* * *

The large number of elegant presents at the Railey-Bradley Nuptials fully attest the popularity of this young couple. Among the handsomest were two complete chests of silverware, containing forks, spoons, etc., one from the bride's grandmother, Mrs. Thomas Bradley, the other from the groom's parents. Mrs. Pepper, the grandmother of the groom, gave an elegant punch bowl of cut glass; exquisite silver tea service in colonial style was given by Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Barnes; beautiful white maple dressing table of the daintiest design from Tom Bradley; writing desk with silver accessories from the sister and two brothers, Earnest and Charley Bradley; handset set of orange spoons from Charles W. Bradley, uncle of the bride; diamond bracelet from Mrs. T. T. Eckert, of New York; Gen. Eckert sent a handsome check.

The bride was the recipient of several handsome checks from her father, the groom's brother, Mr. Russell Railey, and other relatives. Mr. Clarence Bradley, eldest brother of the bride, gave an elegant solid silver carving set with mother of pearl handles; the groom's little brother, Byron, gave a handsome embossed leather chair; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brower a beautiful Dresden lamp upheld by the loveliest of Cupids; Miss Mary Berryman's present was a handsome wrought iron lamp; Miss Mary Neal, a lovely lamp, and still another the loveliest Dresden lamp was in this beautiful collection of presents.

Three handsome clocks, an onyx and gold, a Dresden and a pale pink porcelain one; an exquisite French mirror, wreathed with garlands of roses and bow knots; beautiful pictures, articles of rare bric-a-brac, fans, lake handkerchiefs, card cases, spoons and ladles of every variety and in the greatest profusion, cut glass ad infinitum, and every beautiful thing ever given to a bride compose this beautiful collection. The colored cook, Maria Warren, to show the high esteem in which she held the lovely bride, gave her a pretty silver bon-bon spoon.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Great Stuff!

One of the items on my to-do list for the Lexington Public Library was an obituary For Elizabeth Chapman Graves Coleman. Pretty Lizzie, as she was known, was a sister of my great-great-great grandmother, Barbara Garland Graves Chinn. Barbara died in 1850 in Lexington, Missouri, and very little of her brothers and sisters was known to me.

I easily found what was not so much an obituary as a tribute to Elizabeth, which named her children, sort of. It's a practice that is sometimes still seen today, where the daughters are not named other than by their husband's name, such as Mrs. Levi Prewitt. I really hate that. Well, I soon found out that Mrs. Levi Prewitt was Mary Ellen Coleman and I was lucky enough to find an obituary for both Levi & Mary Ellen. I then went to work on Mrs. Dr. S. W. Willis, Mrs. J. L. Calloway (turned out to be Mrs. J. T. Calloway) and Mrs. Willard Davis. Mrs. Dr. S. W. Willis (and it is that way on her death cert, don't ya love it) I found was Anna courtesy of one of her children's death certificates; Mr. J. T. Calloway was Lucy and Mrs Willard Davis was Adda or Addie Coleman.

My search led me to some great obituaries for daughters and their husbands, and one that is totally unreadable. I thought I'd put it up in case someone else can read it! the obituary is for a former attorney general for Kansas. The obituary appeared in the Kansas City, Missouri Times.

Click on the images to view a larger image. The tribute for Elizabeth Graves Coleman, you will need to click on again once it comes up in the browser to be able to read it.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, June 21, 2010

We're Back! Much Success on Research Trip and Even Some Surprises!

Wow, it was great to get away for a couple nights. Despite the incident with the elevator, DH and I had a great time just being together. I didn't get as much time at the library as I wanted. Lexington city streets and sidewalks are undergoing a massive renovation in preparation for the upcoming Equestrian Games. It sure made the idea of walking to lunch anywhere nearby nearly impossible. So after just a few hours, I packed it in at the library and we went in search of lunch. We did find a great place called Old Chicago where we enjoyed a veggie pizza and Bluegrass Brewing Company's Barbarian Honey Ale. It was a nice change of pace beer that wasn't overly sweet and had a great finish.

We think we saved a fortune on meals by having our heavy meal late in the afternoon and being too full for dinner. Whatever, it really was nice to be some place different.

Friday morning, we checked out and headed to the cemetery. Lexington Cemetery has the remains of a lot of my ancestors and I found some I had not expected to find. Previously I thought that the stones for William and Nancy T. (Parker) Bowman were not there. I performed some magic and got readable photos of the stones. I also found Nancy's parents stones by accident, as they are not in the cemetery's online database. John Parker & Isabella Todd are my great-great-great-great grandparents. We chose three contiguous sections, D, H and I. Most of the stones in section D that I wanted were the raised letter type and wouldn't even accept chalk. Some were so overgrown with moss and lichen that I would have needed to sandblast them out. But I took pictures anyway.  Some of the moss and lichen grew in the lettering and either totally obliterated what was etched or highlighted it.

I am still missing some stones in section H and might have to revisit that section again. Section I was hugely successful because I found every stone in that section I was looking for and the aforementioned Parker-Todd stones.

It's great to be back and I am happy to be transcribing the newspaper articles and linking the headstone photos and posting them on Find-A-Grave.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Special Edition - Happy Father's Day!

There are times, like today, that I really miss my dad. Or during the hockey season. Or when something needs to be fixed. I find I have started "channeling" him. Like giving one of the daughters a tickling pinch at the waist while making a weird noise. I remember as a kid, trying to see how close I could get to him and just staying out of waist pinch, weird noise range.

Now I find myself saying "Hank" words, such as pritnear (pretty near). Or one of his favorite phrases "Colder than a witches tit." Or trying to figure out which of his granddads was Peepaw and which one was Popoo. Popoo was how my kids referred to him. That great mystery solved - Peepaw was his grandfather Percival, grandfather Bowman was Popoo - I remember calling him when something needed fixing, replacing or installing (dishwasher, 1984, Redford township.) My dad loved being called on to fix things. And he loved telling us how to do things, because his way was the only way. I even remember him telling me how to get someplace in the town where I grew up.

My dad would occasionally tell stories of his childhood, and one time while on vacation with some of us, he told a story of a proper dinner party his parents held in Detroit. Then he cracked us up with the caveat: This was before my mother died. Okay, so it didn't take much to make us laugh. My dad was a real softy under a tough outer skin. He'd get that real strict look on his face at dinner time and in the next instant make us spit milk out through our noses.

Coming from a large family of one brother and 4 sisters, I swore I would marry an only child, which I did. I know he is still sometimes speechless when we all get together since we are a bit of a loud, rowdy family. Sometimes I'm not sure that he is just speechless or just can't get in a word edgewise!

I married a man like my dad. No my DH is in no way handy. He worked a desk job all those years with numbers and finance being his strong suits. But his family always came first like my dad. He is always happier at home, than away from home. He loves to travel like my dad, for which I am eternally grateful. He is a warm loving man and not afraid to show it, even if he sometimes presents a stern countenance.

To my DH! You are the best father to our kids, that a man can be. I'm so glad I gave you the chance!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sympathy Saturday, Harold Lynch

Harold R. Lynch
Passed Away: January 1, 1973
Beloved Husband of Esther

Eppens-Van Deweghe Funeral Home Inc.*

*(Det is penciled in at the bottom)
Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, June 18, 2010

Unexpected Results

My one day at the Lexington Public Library turned into a half day, as we were challenged by parking, walking and just about anything else you can think of.

First, Lexington is taking on an extensive city-scaping project in preparation for the 2010 Alltech Equestrian Games in September. [Note to self: Stay away from Lexington in September.] That meant that is was nearly impossible to get near the library to park in their garage. It means that we parked over at the bus station UP the hill and two blocks away. In the sun.

Second, DH said it was nearly impossible to walk around town. He did manage to take a tour of the Mary Todd Lincoln House (actually the house she grew up in) which he found interesting. Did I mention Mary Todd Lincoln is related to me?

So his walking tour was abbreviated, he did some research in the business section of the library, and I grabbed some more obits and marriage announcements. Even though the air conditioning was working in the library, the third floor was a bit warm, and we were both happy to call it a day. Lunch was at a pizza place called "Old Chicago" and the pizza was great. Um. So was the beer.

Today is checkout and cemetery day. I'm hoping I can get him out early before temps hit the upper 80's.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Be Still My Heart

I can't believe it. DH and I finally are getting away for a couple days to Lexington, Kentucky. We hope to get in a trip to the cemetery as well as the public Library's Kentucky room. I've had my cemetery book ready and just printed the final copy of my library to-do list. Even though the weather forecast wasn't the greatest for Wednesday, today and tomorrow are supposed to be better, if HOT.

Which reminds me, I need to check the cemetery kit to make sure I have everything. Somehow last year, we left without the some of the key ingredients.

For more on our adventures in Lexington, check out my blog at Generational.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Networking Again

Last Saturday, I finally attended another meeting of the Upper Cumberland Genealogical Association (UCGA), at our local library. I attended a couple meetings in the first year we lived here, then we got busy with building our house and moving again and I let other things get in the way.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to see new officers at the helm and just a different attitude - or so it seemed to me. The program was presented by the White County archivist, Geraldine Pollard, who explained to the members how, when and why the White County archives were set up. It's nice to know that Nashville is encouraging the individual counties to set up archives to preserve their records.

The good news is that attending and joining the local society has helped me cross an item off my resolutions list.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Project Completion

Saturday evening I transcribed the last of the letters my grandparents wrote to each other from 1917 to 1927, a few family letters, a couple telegrams, a few post cards and a letter from the Detroit Civil Service Commission offering my grandfather a job. Who would have thought my grandpa's dream job was an Ed Norton* job.

While I still have proofreading to do, I am so relieved to be finished with the transcription end of it.

The Stats
486 images transcribed into 90 documents. My grandfather was a prolific correspondent. It's too bad grandma's letters to him were destroyed (by him) while he was in Europe during the Great War. However, I have a handful of letters she wrote to him when he took the Engineer in Tunnels & Foundations job in Detroit. All during his assignment in France during WWI, he said he wanted to work in sewers, and he got his wish in a big way on the water intake tunnel in Detroit.

What was one of the most astonishing things I read? Someone referred to my not quite two-year-old father as beautiful. I've seen the photos and he was pretty darn cute! What was not so surprising? That my dad was a terror as a two year old. Makes me think my younger daughter came by it honestly.

What was the most frustrating thing? How they wrote the letters. Often a single sheet of paper was folded in half and page one would be the front "cover"; page two would be the back "cover," page three would be written crosswise on the right side of the inside of the folded page and page 4 would be written on the left side. Grandma's sister Bessie had her own take on it. The paper would be folded in half and page one would be on the front "cover" and page two would take up the whole of the inside and page three would be the back "cover." The next most frustrating thing would be the handwriting. Most of the time you couldn't tell the difference in my grandfather's writing between me we one or are! They all looked the same. Most of the time the context would bail me out.

I couldn't have done this without this wonderful program, which I have mentioned before, but will mention it again. The program is called Transcript and it is freeware. Click here to go to the website to download it. I now use it for transcribing newspaper articles, obituaries, marriage announcements, letters, etc. It's a wonderful thing.

*In case the reader is too young to remember The Honeymooners, Ed Norton was Ralph Kramden's (Jackie Gleason) sidekick. Ed was a New York City sewer worker. He was brilliantly played by Art Carney.
Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, June 14, 2010

More on James Rankin Jr

I'm near the end of my scanning and transcription project and just scanned a 12 page letter from my dad's Aunt Bessie (Bowman) Rankin, in which she tells some family secrets, and discusses her paralyzed son James*. See my blog from last week entitled It was a Bad Decade.

At one point, Aunt Bessie tells of bringing in someone who was teaching paralytics to walk. Supposedly, one of his patient's was a nephew of Franklin Roosevelt. I can't find anything that says FDR's nephew was paralyzed. Not that it surprises me, because Roosevelt kept a tight lid on his paralysis. We know now, but at the time few people knew he couldn't walk much. Apparently the press was less invasive then.

I can't imagine what it was like for someone in 1932 to lose the use of most of his limbs. By January of 1934, in the height of the depression, his parents were spending their wealth on his care. And James claimed he could feel his legs burning when with the help of nurses his parents stood him up. No bodily function was too unimportant to write about either. And Aunt Bessie does, in great detail.

My dad always told me that James was as helpless as a baby and couldn't even feed himself, and I wonder about it. I do know that he went on to graduate from college in 1940, seven years after his accident. In 1945 he married Amelia Schlenken. According to dad, she was also paralyzed. They lived with Aunt Bessie until James' death in 1958. Bessie died on New Year's eve in 1960. Amelia died in 2000.

(Left) James Jr., James (Jamie) Sr & Bessie (Bowman) Rankin before James Jr's life-changing accident.

 (Right) James Rankin Jr, February 1940 after receiving his degree from Pomona College. Click on the image to read the caption. Don't forget to use your browser's back button to return to this page.

* While looking for information on C6 (6th cervical vertebra) injuries, I discovered that one-third of all cervical injuries are caused by diving accidents. James was fortunate to survive. Ironically, his best friend, Dick Edmunds, who helped rescue James died in his sleep in early 1934 of a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sympathy Saturday - Rojowski, continued

More of the Rojowski family. Again, I have no idea who these people are.  Don't forget to use your browser's back button to return to this page.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, June 11, 2010

It Was a Bad Decade

Even without the Great Depression, the decade of 1930-1939 was a sad one for the Bowman family of Lexington, Missouri. This is one of my direct line families, and I often wonder how they got through it.

First, the family patriarch, Frank G. Bowman died on February 24, 1930 after suffering a stroke. He was 75, which was a good age for someone of his generation.

Second, Frances Bowman Rogers, aged 42, daughter of the above Frank Bowman and his wife Elizabeth Webb, died of complications of scarlet fever on March 23, 1932. She left a husband, Hugh Rogers and a ten-year-old daughter, Mary Elizabeth.

On July 23, 1932, James Rankin, Jr., son of James Rankin and Bessie Bowman, the oldest daughter of Frank & Elizabeth Bowman, dove into the surf at Malibu, California and broke his neck. He was 19 years old and spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic. From family accounts, I don't think his parents ever got over this tragic accident to their only child.

Then on August 11, 1938, death took Mary Anne Bowman Percival, the youngest child of Frank & Bessie Bowman. She was 45 and left a husband, John S. Percival and two sons, John, age 17 and Frank, age 13. After transcribing all the letters my grandparents left behind, I recognize now that Mary was John's great love and I don't think he ever really got over her death. He certainly seems a different person from the rather formal, stern man I knew as grandfather.

So by the end of the decade, Elizabeth Webb Bowman was left with a son, John Bowman who lived with her and a daughter, Bessie Bowman Rankin, who lived in California with her husband and disabled son; also surviving were Hugh Rogers and daughter Mary Elizabeth of Lexington, Missouri  and John Percival and sons John & Frank of Detroit. From their letters, my grandfather thought highly of his in-laws and my grandmother was close to her sisters and mother. She must have been a strong woman to withstand that decade.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gotta Love Her

How can you love someone whom you've never met? Not only never met, but died 14 years before you were born.

For the past few months, I've been working on letters my grandparents wrote to each other. Actually there are dozens that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother before they were married, he destroyed her letters written to him during World War I, but there are five surviving letters that she wrote to him in May and June of 1927. At this point in time, my grandfather took a job with the city of Detroit in the water department and went on ahead to start his job and find a place for his young family to live. John and Mary had been married seven years by this time and they had two sons, John Jr., aged 6 and Frank who was not quite two, but in that "terrible twos" stage. Honestly from talks with my dad, I think he didn't grow out of his "terribles" until he was in his teens.

The reason I comment on her letters, is that figuring them out has been quite a chore. Grandma, bless her heart, at least took the trouble to number her pages. That's a good thing because on the back of page 1 is page 6; page 2 has page 5 written on the back; pages 3 and 4 are normal; then pages 7-12 are written on different paper, which is smaller, and which has been folded in half. On the front half is page 7 and page 8 is to the left of it. On the opposite side of the paper is page 9. Pages 10-12 are done the same as 7-9. But they are numbered and that makes it easier.

Grandpa, didn't always number the pages on his letters. So that with paper folded the same way as Grandma's, page 1 would be on the right side of the fold, page 2 on the left side of the fold; on the opposite side of  the paper page 3 would be on the right side of the fold, but written from the bottom up and turned and page 4 would be written in a normal manner on the left side of the fold.

Normally this wouldn't matter, but as I am scanning and transcribing they are going in sheet protectors in binders and there is no way they can be placed in there in order. Not grandma's anyways.

I am really sorry I never got to meet her, because I am curious how her mind worked. I think we may have had something in common.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

World War I Travel Order

Once the Great War was over, and my grandfather's services in building bridges, shoring up bridges and repairing roads were no longer needed, he was the recipient of travel orders.

They read:

Company "D" 2rd Engineers
Betoncourt, Ht Saone
April 27th, 1919


        The following men of this command are hereby authorized to proceed from this station (Betoncourt, Hte Saone) to Belfort, France, on Company business, leaving this station 12 M Sunday April 27th, 1919, and returning 12 M Thursday May 1st, 1919. They will travel in a light Ford touring car.

            Sergeant Carroll, Samuel P #2503836.
            Corporal Royse, Harry D. #2503988.
            Corporal Percival, John S #2503963.
            Wagoner, St Leger, Gaspard D. #2503808.
            Pvt 1cl Packard, Marlborough #2503965.

Captain Engineers U.S.A.


I know this because Grandpa P. sent the orders home to his bride-to-be in a letter dated May 1st, 1919. He got to do the driving and drove the Ford Touring Car. Grandpa's name appears below the struck-out name.

It amazes me what survived. I only wish that he had sent her letters back to her so that we would have had a record of all their correspondence.

The men were headed to Belfort, France, and my grandfather describes it this way:

      "There is a big fort on the edge of the city, builton a high hill and most of it cut out of solid rock. Just outside of the fort and on the side of the hill toward the city, a big lion has been carved out of solid rock. The man that carved the lion is the same man that built or carved the Statue of Liberty." 

I couldn't picture it, until I checked out Belfort, France on Wikipedia. Which is where I found out that it was indeed carved by Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Keep Looking, Part Two

I've added the Massachusetts 1855 and 1865 State Census to one of those places I will automatically check for Massachusetts residents, and finding the 1855 for the William Allen Thayer family sent me back to the 1850 to search for this family yet again. Well I did find Allen Thayer and his wife Cornista and their children, Helen and William living in Hampshire county. Okay, so I didn't find them before because a) William is now Allen and b) Cornista? Interestingly enough I find Jerusha Percavil (their spelling not mine) living with them. Jerusha was a younger sister of Calista Percival Thayer. So now I have them in 1850, finally.

On the 1855 census, the Thayer family can be found with the addition of children Mary & George. Jerusha Percival is still living with them and has added her own little bundle, Eva M. Percival. The Massachusetts Vital Records show that Eva is the daughter of T. O. Morton. Interestingly enough, no illegitimate designation is given this child, but no marriage record is found for Jerusha and T. O., either. And the child is listed as Percival and not Morton in both the birth record and the census.

By 1860, her mother, Jerusha Percival aka as Rusha and Rusia has married Artemus Whitney and in the 1860 census, Eva is enumerated as Whitney. And that is the last I find her. If she has died, no Massachusetts death record has survived, and if she married, I don't know to whom or where.

Another Percival mystery.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, June 7, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Memorial Day & the Best Laid Plans

Several years ago, before we made the 600 mile move to Tennessee, DH and I made a trip to visit my Aunt and cousins in western Michigan. Truly, if they were any further west, they'd be in Lake Michigan.

We had a great visit with my Aunt, and two of my three cousins. They are the only Percival cousins I have, and it is nice to touch base with them periodically.

It being Memorial Day weekend, DH and I thought we would stop at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan and visit my dad's grave. Since it was Sunday, we figured we were safe.

Um we were wrong. Long before we got to the entrance of the cemetery, there was a lineup of cars to get in, and a sign for the ceremony. When we had checked on the schedule before we went to the cemetery, that ceremony was scheduled for Monday. For all I know, this was a different ceremony.

We didn't get in the slow-moving line, instead I waved in the general vicinity of dad's plot and said we'd try again. We eventually did get there - have actually been there twice - my mom was buried with dad a couple of years ago.

That's probably the only time I've told DH that we could skip a cemetery.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sympathy Saturday - George Rojowski

Another English-Polish funeral card. Again, from my husband's late aunt's collection of funeral cards.

Click on the image to see a larger format; use your browser's back button to return to this page.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, June 4, 2010

Taking a Deep Breath

The death certificates are done! Wahoo! Now I only have birth records, marriage records, census ... yeah, you get my drift.

It's funny how real life pokes at you and reminds you to take care of business around the house like laundry and groceries and cleaning and dealing with a cable TV problem. Most of it is resolved, but have to deal yet with a remote control that doesn't work right.

Unfortunately, not much is getting done on the outside due to either lots of rain or extreme heat. I missed spring this year, we maybe had two weeks of it before summer set in.

I sent for a couple of Ohio death certificates to the Special Collections Department at the Akron-Summit county public library over the holiday weekend. This morning I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of said death certificates with invoice in my email box. Both of these death certificates were in the index at the pilot family search site, but the images were not available. I try to keep a list of the ones I can't find and then spend the dough to get them. Really for $1 service charge and 5 cents per copy, I can afford it. It's such a great service that I wish more libraries would initiate. Talk about fast turn-around time!

Hope your research is going as well!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rollin', Rollin' On These Records

I have been really caught up lately working in Massachusetts, trying to find everything I can think of - and that my genealogy program says I should search for before the subscription runs out. I have pulled hundreds of records, some of them not very readable, which makes you wonder how they were indexed in the first place! Fortunately, my finds are petering out and all I will have left to do is enter all the information I've found and link the images. And that is exactly what I have been doing on these stormy days we had last month. In between company, housework and helping older daughter with the new apartment.

Every other person I seem to find has links to Sandwich, Massachusetts, so I haul those books out and take a look at them trying to figure out how some people seem to have gotten missed in the Massachusetts Vital Records.

So far, I have 87 birth records, 105 marriage records and 92 census records calling my name. I know that census number will grow exponentially as I add new information to the database.

And I still have the letter project to finish. I always have something to work on!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Keep Looking

The OCFRD is still working in high gear and I have been fruitlessly searching for a death record or a second marriage record for Calista Percival Thayer also found as Collista, Corlista and Clystia. I'm also looking for her on the 1880 census. So far no luck. She either remarried after the death of her husband in 1865 - actually later as I have found her in 1870 with her surviving children. Surprisingly, she is not the only Calista Thayer either in Massachusetts.

The research trip is again on hold - again due to weather concerns. I just can't plan a trip to a cemetery with a 60-70% chance of thunderstorms. Maybe next week?

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Post Holiday Lethargy

First, let me preface everything with the fact that DH and I are retired. Because we are retired, we lose track of what day it is, so that when a holiday comes along, well, sometimes you forget.

So I am surprised that I am feeling that post holiday lethargy. Maybe it is because Older Daughter moved during the last week. Literally, every day. Today she spent cleaning the old place in preparation for walk-through. She had her much younger (than us) friends help her with the move, and we didn't really have to do anything. Since we moved her stuff here from North Carolina three years ago, that is a real blessing. Also, the steps to her second floor apartment  - both old and new - are killers. The old place had an indoor landing which was darker than anything and the new one has metal see-through steps. I hate heights. So it's a good thing I didn't have to haul boxes up to the new place while worrying about putting my foot through the space between the treads.

DH and I are hoping to get out of town this week for a much needed break. Since we also have a free night coming to us courtesy of Priority Club Rewards and I sure want to use it. Soon. Hoping the weather clears up. My research plan has been ready and waiting for a few weeks now and so have I. If it doesn't happen? I have other things to keep me busy!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes