Thursday, November 12, 2015

Not All Sources Are What They Seem

The source information Ancestry.com provides on some indexes might be misleading. Extremely misleading.

Take for example this one:

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975




Reading all the above, without following the link to the FamilySearch website, one would likely assume that all the entries originally came from official birth and christening records. It’s an index, so there could be transcription errors. It’s a secondary source. But it is still a transcription from a primary source, right? Or at least a transcription of a transcription since sometimes those vital records get transcribed by churches and governments. Thinking carefully, we may not know how many transcriptions there have been, but somewhere in the distant past there was a primary record. Right?

Let’s go to FamilySearch
“Vital Records Index” seems self explanatory, and sounds like what we expect. But what is the International Genealogical Index?
The IGI contains individual records of birth or christening, marriage, and death or burial for people all over the world. The IGI was first published in 1973 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; it was then closed in 2008, which means that no more information can be added to the index. The IGI was created from two unique sources: first the entries from the IGI were abstracted and indexed from original vital records by volunteers. The second was community contributed, which means that individuals would add in their own personal family names, which are not always the most accurate.
Nice use of understatement at the end of the description there. Yes, the database at Ancestry which implies that it comes from vital records includes family tree information provided by individuals with no fact checking and no indication of where the information truly came from.

Here’s an Ancestry record from that database for a great-aunt of mine. I don’t have her birth certificate, but I guarantee you that she was not born in England. Those are her parents’ names though, so it’s not an issue of two people with the same name. This is clearly an example of “community contributed” information to the IGI.

Going to Family Search and actually looking up the Film Number, you can find two entries for Minnie Ray. The Alston, Cumberland, England birth, and a San Marcos, Hays, Texas birth. As I said above, I don’t have a birth certificate. And while both entries are likely “community contributed” only one can possibly be correct. Theoretically, both could be wrong in some fashion. However, the San Marcos, Hays, Texas record, even if not 100% correct, puts you closer by a few miles. (Another use of understatement.)


I would be curious how the community contributor made the mistake. My suspicion is that their notes got jumbled and a place of birth for one person got swapped in by mistake. An easy human error to make. The existence of two entries with the same Indexing Project Number and Film Number suggests they may have come from the same contributor, and maybe they were confused about her birth for some reason and had two entries, and they both got submitted to the IGI.

While I was able to find both of these entries at FamilySearch, I believe Ancestry has only used these FamilySearch databases for non-US data. So the Texas entry didn't come up in my search.

Summary:

Not all sources are what they seem. The Ancestry.com international indexes of Select Births and Christenings, Select Births and Baptisms, Select Deaths and Burials, and Select Marriages that cite back to FamilySearch as their original source? Don’t assume the information in these indexes all come from vital records. How much of the data is based on vital records, and how much was community contributed is unclear.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day / Remembrance Day 2015


Caption for photo to left: Human Statue of Liberty. 18,000 Officers and Men at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa. Colonel William Newman, Commanding. Colonel Rush S. Wells, Directing. Mole & Thomas, 09/1918. (source)

November 11 is Veterans Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in the UK, Canada, Australia, France and Belgium. In Poland it is celebrated as National Independence Day.

Below are the names of ancestors, and their siblings, who I know served their nation's military, either in a time of war, or in a time of peace. I am including my Loyalist ancestors; their nation was Great Britain. Canada became their country after the war. I am including my Confederate ancestors too, despite their desire to form a separate nation. I am also including a Conscientious Objector ancestor since the DAR counts him as a Patriot.

Fifth Great Grandfathers
McGregory Van Every (1723-1786) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers
Michael Showers (1733-1796) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers
Mark Fretz (1750-1840) Patriot (Inactive Duty) Pennsylvania militia

Fourth Great Grandfather
David Van Every (1757-1820) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers (served briefly as a Patriot in the NY militia)

Fifth Great Uncle
Benjamin Van Every (1759-1795) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers (served briefly as a Patriot in the NY militia)
William Van Every (1765-1832) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers
Peter Van Every (1771-bef 1816) Loyalist/Fifth Lincoln and Second York regiments (War of 1812)

Fourth Great Uncles
David Van Every Jr. (1782-1847) Loyalist/Second York regiment (War of 1812)
Michael Van Every (1790-?) Loyalist/Fifth Lincoln and Second York regiments (War of 1812)

Second Great Grandfather
Ebenezer Denyer (1828-1872) (Mexican-American War) (Confederate Army)

Third Great Uncles
Samuel Jennings Denyer (1822-1861) (Gonzales County Minute Men - Republic of Texas -1841)
Samuel T Hartley (1830-1920) (Confederate Army)

Great Grandfather
Samuel Deutsch (1861-1938) (Franz Josef's Austro-Hungarian Army)

Grandfathers
Melvin L Newmark (1912-1992), WWII
Martin J Deutsch (1907-1991), WWII

Great Uncles
Jerry Deutsch (1909-1950), WWII
Allen Deutsch (1914-1988), WWII
Harold Newmark (1915-2003), WWII
Mandell Newmark (1923-1945), WWII (DOI)
Bernard Feinstin (1913-1968), WWII
Seymour Feinstein (1917-1999), WWII

Uncle
Stevan J Newmark (1942-1997) Army Reserves

Photographs of those who served in World War II

My grandfathers Melvin Newmark (1912-1992) and Martin Deutsch (1907-1991)


Allen Deutsch (1914-1988) and Maurice "Jerry" Deutsch (1909-1950).


Harold Newmark (1915-2003) and Mandell Newmark (1923-1945).


Bernard "Benny" Feinstein (1913-1968) and Seymour "Babe" Feinstein (1917-1999)

Wordless Wednesday: William Edgar Geil (1865-1925)

Second cousin of my second great grandfather, Ebenezer Denyer.
 Son of Samuel Geil, whose reminiscences I transcribed a couple weeks ago.
(Move the cursor over the image to read more information [source])
Below is the report of his death:

Monday, November 9, 2015

How many trips across the ocean did my ancestor make?

Today I found this record at Ancestry:



Sam Newmark - arriving in Quebec on Nov 14, 1903 on the "Parisian" steamship crossed the border at Niagara Falls on November 30th. He was born in the Radom Province of Russia, and his last residence was in England. He was headed towards Rochester, New York to look for work.

While the place of birth isn't very clear on this card (and the Ancestry indexer went with "Edom") the matching manifest clearly says Radom, and Radom is an actual Polish Gubernia, which includes Warsaw, where I believe my Newmark ancestor was born. He's the last entry on the manifest:

From the age on the manifest, it puts him within one year of my ancestor's birth on other documents. And the manifest indicates he was a tailor, which is also correct. It's difficult to imagine a second Samuel Newmark with all the matching criteria, but coincidences happen.

From other manifests I know Samuel and his son, Barnet, travelled to the US in 1907, returned to England in 1908, and the whole family made the final voyage in 1909. But if this is my ancestor, it appears Samuel made an earlier voyage in 1903, a few months after his final son, Israel David, was born in April. His eldest, Sol, was married in 1902, and likely was the primary wage earner for the family while these trips were made.

I also note that there is a Morris Stone, also from the Radom Province, also a tailor, and also headed to Rochester. It may be a coincidence, but they may also have been travelling together.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Samuel Jennings Denyer - School Master

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at a newspaper article that references Samuel Jennings Denyer, the brother of my second great grandfather, Ebenezer Denyer. (Click on the image to enlarge.)


The Bucks County Gazette
Bristol, Bucks County, PA.
Friday April 23, 1909
Page 1

MINES AND MASTERS

Becoming reminiscent last week, Samuel Geil, aged 85 years, imparted to the Gazette correspondent some interesting information which has probably never been published before.

Most interesting was the story of how the lead deposits at New Galena were discovered many years ago as the result of a farmer’s curiosity being aroused by the fact that some of the rocks he picked up were so much heavier than the ordinary ones. Remarking upon it to Jesse Moore, then a blacksmith in the vicinity, he was told to bring several of the rocks to the smith, and when he did Moore succeeded in some way in smelting the ore in the furnace. He found it very rich with the metal, but it was not until many years later that the mining of the ore was taken up.

Mr. Geil also talked of some of the old school masters he had known before the public schools were known, and among others mentioned Christian Burkholder, Samuel Jennings Denyer, Thomas J. Clark and Henry Bertel. All of these men, he said, were German Mennonites, for it was among this sect that the best educated men were to be found in those days. Burkholder was the inventor of a peculiar spelling machine.

Notes:

1. Samuel Jennings Denyer, the older brother of my second great grandfather, Ebenezer, became his legal guardian upon their father, William's death. The probate documents identify him as the 'tutor' for his younger siblings, which simply meant 'legal guardian' at the time. But apparently he had experience as a teacher.

2. Samuel Geil, born in 1825, was a first cousin of William Denyer's wife, Elizabeth Sliver Denyer. William and Elizabeth's son, Samuel Jennings, was born in 1822, and died in 1861 at the age of 38. My ancestor, Ebenezer Denyer, was born in 1828 and died in 1872 at the age of 43. So Samuel Geil outlived his cousin's children by a large degree. (Samuel died in August of 1909, only a few months after this newspaper article.)

3. I find it interesting that Samuel Geil lists Samuel Jennings Denyer as a teacher, since he was only three years younger. But it's possible.

4. Samuel Jennings' mother was of German Mennonite descent, but his father, William, was from England, and was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church. Some sources indicate Samuel had attended an M.E. seminary, and was preparing for a ministry himself at the time of his death. As cousins it's likely Samuel Geil knew the Denyer family weren't Mennonites, but the memories of an aging individual aren't always the most reliable.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sepia Saturday 300: Images of the Deceased

Sepia Saturday - A weekly meme providing a visual prompt for participants to share their own photographs. (I'm going to share some poetry as well.)

It is thought that this image may be an example of a Post-Mortem photograph, where at least one of the individuals is deceased. An appropriate image as we are in the month of October and Halloween. The boy and man both look as if this might be the case.

I don't have any post-mortem photographs, but the feeling one gets seeing images of the dead reminds me of the images I saw in French Children of the Holocaust, by Serge Klarsfeld, 1996. (The book can be viewed online.)

A publication of Jewish children deported from France (very many of which were not French nationals, but earlier refugees from elsewhere in Europe). The book includes alphabetical lists of children by convoy, indicating surname, forename, birthdate, birthplace, assembly center, convoy number, deportation date, and last address in France, followed by a photographic section featuring portraits and other information on many of the children. There are two indexes, a general name index to the deportation lists and an name index to the photograph section.

Ida CANTKERT was born on October 14, 1927, in Paris (12th arr.). She lived at 20 rue Basfroi (11th arr.). She was deported on convoy 68 of February 10, 1944, with her sisters Frida, age 4, and Suzanne, 8, and her brother Paul, 10.

***

It is possible that I am related distantly to Ida and her siblings. My second great grandmother, Rose Cantkert Newmark, came from Warka, Poland, on the outskirts of Warsaw. The deportation lists indicate that Ida and her siblings were born in Paris. But there is no indication of where her parents were born.

Excerpt from: Mid-Term Break - by Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying—
He had always taken funerals in his stride—
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'.
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

[full poem]

Monday, October 5, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: The Estate of William Denyer - Part 2

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at another document from the probate folder for my third great grandfather, William Denyer (1794-1848). (Click on the image to enlarge.)


July 11, 1848
State of Louisiana
Parish of St. Martin

Be it known that on this Eleventh day of July, Anno Domini Eighteen hundred and forty eight and between the hours of 10 o’clock a.m. and 4 o’clock p.m. of said day, I Simon W. Walsh, Notary Public in and for the Parish of St. Martin aforesaid, duly sworn and commissioned did in virtue of an order from the Honorable Fourteenth District Court of the aforesaid Parish, and to me directed under date of the 7th of June 1848, cause to come before me Harry Hopkins, Viel D’Arby, Jerome Mudd, John S. Richardson, Gustave Sonsoulin (?), all of the aforesaid Parish, and friends of the Minor heirs and family of the late William Denyer deceased of said Parish, at my office in New Iberia to compose a family meeting to advise and recommend such measures as to them would seem conducive to the interest of said minors and family; when, after said members composing said – Family Meeting had been duly sworn, they proceeded to appoint a Tutor to said Minors – and after due deliberation they appointed Samuel J Denyer as Tutor – as he furnished his bond in the sum of

With John G Richardson as his security and which said Family Meeting accepted.

(signatures)
Harry Hopkins
Viel D’arby
Jerome Mudd
J. S. Richardson
Gustave F Sonsoulin (?)

I as undertutor of said minors do hereby approve of the foregoing proceedings

A. Duperier (?)

S. W. Walsh
Notary Public

Notes:

1) I believe the individuals listed as either friends or family of the estate are most if not all friends. William Denyer's family being in England, and the family of his late wife, Elizabeth Sliver Denyer (1798-1840) in Pennsylvania. However, I will research the names here to make certain.

2) While in general this document is easier to read than the one from last week, there are a few names of which I'm not completely certain I have transcribed correctly.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sepia Saturday 299: Candy is Dandy

Sepia Saturday - A weekly meme providing a visual prompt for participants to share their own photographs. (I'm going to share some poetry as well.)

Excerpt from: Reflections on Ice-Breaking, by Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

Candy
Is Dandy...

Everyone is familiar with the last two lines, right? If not, follow the link.

This week's image prompt is an advertisement for Wampole's Preparation, which was marketed as a tastier way to deliver cod liver oil. (Cod liver oil has a high vitamin-D content, which is useful in preventing Rickets.) In addition to the cod liver oil, the 'preparation' contained 12% alcohol.

Today's parents might receive a visit from Social Services if they regularly gave their child alcohol-based tonics.

Today, October 2nd, marks one year since my wife and I sat in a courtroom and promised a judge that we would continue to love and care for our two twin boys, always and forever. They had been living with us many months, but it was on this date that the judge finally removed the adjective 'foster' from our relationship, and we legally became their parents, and they became our sons.

Here are a few photographs. I promise they are drinking apple juice in the first one. One thing the images illustrate is how my wife and I like to dress them in 'coordinating, but not matching' outfits. It helps to be able to tell them apart.



A Flight Shot, by Maurice Thompson (1844-1901)

We were twin brothers, tall and hale,
Glad wanderers over hill and dale.

We stood within the twilight shade
Of pines that rimmed a Southern glade.

He said: “Let’s settle, if we can,
Which of us is the stronger man.

“We’ll try a flight shot, high and good,
Across the green glade toward the wood.”

And so we bent in sheer delight
Our old yew bows with all our might.

Our long keen shafts, drawn to the head,
Were poised a moment ere they sped.

As we leaned back a breath of air
Mingled the brown locks of our hair.

We loosed. As one our bow-cords rang,      
As one away our arrows sprang.

Away they sprang; the wind of June
Thrilled to their softly whistled tune.

We watched their flight, and saw them strike
Deep in the ground slantwise alike,      

So far away that they might pass
For two thin straws of broom-sedge grass!

Then arm in arm we doubting went
To find whose shaft was farthest sent,

Each fearing in his loving heart      
That brother’s shaft had fallen short.

But who could tell by such a plan
Which of us was the stronger man?

There at the margin of the wood,
Side by side our arrows stood,      

Their red cock-feathers wing and wing,
Their amber nocks still quivering,

Their points deep-planted where they fell
An inch apart and parallel!

We clasped each other’s hands; said he,      
“Twin champions of the world are we!”

Monday, September 28, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: The Estate of William Denyer - 1848

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Like many genealogists, I have delved into Ancestry.com's recently released database of wills and probate records. One probate folder I have found is that of my third great grandfather, William Denyer (1794-1848). Below I look at one page. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

June 7, 1848

To the honorable Cornelius...judge of the fourteenth judicial district court of the State of Louisiana, holding sessions…and for the parish of St. Martin.

The person of Samuel Jennings Denyer, of the Parish of St. Martin, most respectfully showeth:

That his father William Denyer, late of the Parish of St. Martin, departed this life, leaving some property in community between himself and the following named sisters and brothers, to wit: Elizabeth Ann Denyer, wife of John Pratt, both absent from the State of Louisiana, and the three minors Abenyser Upham Denyer, Jane Goldfinch Denyer, William Sliver Denyer, to whom it becomes necessary that a tutor and under tutor be appointed, according to law.

Your parishioner begs leave to state that being one of the brothers of the aforesaid minors he ought to be appointed to their tutorship…..

Your parishioner further suggests the propriety of appointing a counsel to Elizabeth Ann Denyer, wife of John Pratt, one of the heirs of William Denyer deceased, and who is absent from and not represented in the State of Louisiana.

Notes:

1) I use ellipses where I have difficulty deciphering the handwriting, and I stop prior to the bottom paragraph. The document continues on to the next page, and there are 47 separate pages in the folder. It's going to take some work to decipher it all. While I am somewhat interested in the details, this page is sufficient to confirm that it is my ancestor, as well as provide a more exact location for his death than I had previously.

2) In one family genealogy the bio for William Denyer states:

He was born in the county of Southampton, Hampshire, England, November 22, 1794; died in Louisiana, March 14, 1848. In early life he was a cabinet maker in Baltimore, Maryland. After marriage he was a farmer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, later he burned lime from oyster shells, in Philadelphia, was in ice business, rafted lumber down the Schuylkill river, boated on the Schuylkill canal, run saw and grist mill in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, and engaged in whip-sawing at New Albany, Indiana. While there he was taken sick, and went to Louisiana for his health. In 1839 he settled with his family near Brazoria, Texas. In 1840 he moved to Gonzales County, Texas, and in 1841 to Louisiana, and traveled as an itinerant minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, until his death. 

[A Brief History of John and Christian Fretz and a Complete Genealogical Family Register With Biographies of their Descendants from the Earliest Available Records to the Present Time – by Rev A.J. Fretz of Milton N.J. copyright 1890. Mennonite Publishing Co. Elkhart, Indiana. pp. 326-333.]

This document confirms his death in Louisiana in 1848, and provides a parish.

3) I have maintained the unusual spelling of the name of my second great grandfather, Ebenezer Denyer. His middle name is elsewhere, Ophan, which seems less likely than Upham, but is a religious term that might not be unfamiliar to an itinerant minister.

4) According to the above cited family genealogy, Ebenezer Denyer was born in 1828, Jane Goldfinch Denyer in 1831, and William Sliver Denyer in 1834, so they were 20, 17, and 14 in 1848. Some of the documents in the probate folder are dated as late as 1856, when none of the children were minors any longer. [It appears by 1856, the youngest child, William Sliver, was the administrator of the estate.]

5) Due to its French and Spanish history, Louisiana is a Civil Law state, and not a Common Law state. The word 'Tutor' is used instead of 'Guardian.'

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sepia Saturday 298: Spaniels; Hungary; Carl Sandburg; and 18

Sepia Saturday - A weekly meme providing a visual prompt for participants to share their own photographs. (I'm going to share poetry as well. Follow the links for the complete poems.)

This week's image prompt was taken in 1931 outside the Vanderbilt mansion. It shows two daughters of Gloria Vanderbilt and Count László Széchenyi, along with two dogs. The dogs aren't named, and I haven't been able to verify if they belonged to the Széchenyi family. They are almost certainly English Springer Spaniels, a breed with which I am very familiar, as I grew up with several.

From left to right below: Daisy (half Springer, half Poodle); Molly; Benny


Excerpt from: "The Two Dogs," Robert Burns (1759-1796)

’TWAS in that place o’ Scotland’s isle
That bears the name o’ auld King Coil,
Upon a bonnie day in June,
When wearin’ thro’ the afternoon,
Twa dogs, that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather’d ance upon a time.

Count László Széchenyi (1879-1938) was Hungary's first minister to the United States. My maternal grandfather, Martin Deutsch, was born in Hungary. (The town in which he was born is now part of Romania.) I visited a few of the villages of my Transylvanian ancestors back in 2012.

Below are:
1) My grandfather's birthplace. 2012. (Varalmas, Hungary; Almasu, Romania)
2) The building my great grandmother, Helen (Lichtman) Deutsch grew up in. 2012. (Margitta, Hungary; Marghita, Romania.) It served as a home, and a place of business for her family. A different family now lives there.
3) The Lichtman leather shop in earlier days. (My grandfather emigrated with his family in 1913 at the age of six. Several Lichtman relatives remained in Hungary, and of those who did, there were only a handful of Holocaust survivors.)





Excerpt from: The People, Yes, Carl Sandburg, 1936.



Now that I have returned us to the Vanderbilts, I could end the post, as I don't have any connections to the Vanderbilts to discuss.  (I do have a fourth cousin who shares initials with, and has been on a date with a Vanderbilt descendant, but I don't usually blog about living people. So I'll just link to the Entertainment Weekly article.)

I also have a difficult time ignoring the number '18' inscribed on the image prompt. It is a meaningful number in Hebrew mysticism. In Hebrew the letters of the alphabet are associated with numbers, similar to as if we said A=1 and B=2. The Hebrew number for 18, חי, is also the word 'Chai,' meaning 'life.'

Here's a photograph of myself, age 8, after receiving a 'Chai' necklace for a birthday gift.












Monday, September 21, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: The Will of J.T. Wallace (1861-1916)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

This week I look at the will and associated documents of my wife's second great grandfather, John Thomas Wallace (1861-1916)

Update: Further research indicates this is not my wife's ancestor, but an individual with the same name, and same year of death.

St. Louis, May 24th 1911.

This is my last will
I appoint my wife Lulu N. Wallace sole Executrix without bond.
I direct that all my just debts be paid.
I direct that 5000.00 in Cash be paid to my mother B.S. Wallace.
After the payment of my debts and the above 5000.00 to my mother, what is left is to be the property of my Wife, Lulu N.Wallace.

J.T. Wallace

Witness-
J.C. Iselin.
C.A. Doolittle.

Codicil to my Will June 9- 1913
In the event of  my mothers death before mine I desire that 5000.00 willed to her go to my wife.

J.T. Wallace

Witness
C.A. Doolittle.
J.C. Iselin.

STATE OF MISSOURI
CITY OF ST. LOUIS

BE IT REMEMBERED, That on this 25th day of October A.D. 1916, before me, the undersigned Clerk of the Probate Court of the City of St. Louis, personally came C.A. Doolittle who being by me duly sworn on his oath, says:

“I saw J.T. Wallace, the testator subscribe his name to the annexed instruments, in writing, bearing dates the 24th day of May 1911, and the 9th day of June 1913, and heard him declare the same to be his last Will and Testament and a Codicil thereto; I subscribed my name thereto as a witness in the presence and at the request of the said testator and at the time of the execution of said instruments as aforesaid, and of  my subscribing the same as such witness he the said testator was of sound and disposing mind, to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

C.A. Doolittle.

Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 25th day of October A.D. 1916.
George Brand, Clerk. By C.W. Hunt, Deputy Clerk.

STATE OF MISSOURI
CITY OF ST. LOUIS

BE IT REMEMBERED, That on this 25th day of October A.D. 1916, before me, the undersigned Clerk of the Probate Court of the City of St. Louis, personally came J.C. Iselin who being by me duly sworn on his oath, says:

“I saw J.T. Wallace, the testator subscribe his name to the annexed instruments, in writing, bearing dates the 24th day of May 1911, and the 9th day of June 1913, and heard him declare the same to be his last Will and Testament and a Codicil thereto; I subscribed my name thereto as a witness in the presence and at the request of the said testator and at the time of the execution of said instruments as aforesaid, and of  my subscribing the same as such witness he the said testator was of sound and disposing mind, to the best of my knowledge and belief.”
J.C. Iselin.

Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 25th day of October A.D. 1916.
George Brand, Clerk. By C.W. Hunt, Deputy Clerk.

STATE OF MISSOURI
CITY OF ST. LOUIS

I, GEORGE BRAND, Clerk of the Probate Court of the City of St. Louis, having examined the annexed instruments in writing, together with the testimony of C.A. Doolittle and J.C. Iselin the subscribing witnesses thereto, do consider the same as duly proved to be the last Will and Testament of J.T. Wallace, deceased.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereunto set my hand and affix the seal of said Court, at office, this 25th day of October, 1916. George Brand, Clerk.

Notes:
1) Found in Ancestry's new Will and Probate collection, this is clearly not the original documents. Someone possibly transcribed the Will and Codicil in October of 1916 along with the testimony of the witnesses.

2) J.T. Wallace refers to his wife here as "Lulu," but on their son's death certificate she is listed as Laura Wallace. (Whether 'Wallace' was her maiden name as well is uncertain.)

3) J.T. Wallace refers to his mother as B.S. In the 1870 census she is listed as "Frances" and on J.T.'s death certificate, she is listed as "Eliza."  Elizabeth could be abbreviated as both Eliza and Beth. I don't have a death date for the mother, though the codicil suggests she was still alive in 1913. While they lived in Missouri, and death certificates 1910-1954 are online, Wallace is a very common surname, and there are multiple possibilities.

4) As I have been researching the past several years, I have grown to loathe the use of initials.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sepia Saturday 297: Washing Lines

Sepia Saturday - A weekly meme providing a visual prompt for participants to share their own photographs. (I'm going to share some poetry as well. Follow the links for the complete poems.)

From "The World Transformed"
by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

UNWARMED by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingëd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

From "Jerusalem" by Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000)

On a roof in the Old City
laundry hanging in the late afternoon sunlight

***
I noticed this week's image comes from the Missouri State Archives. I also recalled seeing washing lines in photographs from the 1908 report bythe Civic League of St. Louis on the housing conditions in the Carr Square tenements.

I have several ancestors who lived in or very near to the neighborhood, before and after the report.

Here's one of the said images:

I'm not entirely sure how the washing lines between the buildings worked. I'm guessing there was a pulley system.

Here's a photograph of my great grandmother, Margaret (Denyer) Vanevery. She is outside of her El Paso, Texas home. I believe a washboard can be seen leaning against the house. It was probably taken in the early 1920s. Evva (or Evelyn), the photographer, mailed it to her sister, Myrtle, my grandmother. Myrtle moved to St. Louis in 1920. Margaret died in 1923.



Monday, September 14, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Archik Kruvand - 1926

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Like many genealogists, I have delved into Ancestry.com's recently released database of wills and probate records. One will I have found is that of Archik Kruvand (1871-1926). He was the nephew of my second great grandfather, Moshe Leyb Cruvant, and also immigrated to St. Louis from Lithuania.


LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

I, Archik Kruvand, being of sound mind and disposing memory do hereby make, declare and publish this as my Last Will and Testament, hereby cancelling and declaring null and void all previous Wills, Testaments, Codicils etc.

To each of our children hereinafter mentioned I hereby give, devise and bequeath the sum of ONE ($1.00) Dollars, namely: Harry, Julius and Gootman Kruvand.

All the remainder and residue of my estate, whether real, personal or mixed I hereby give devise and bequeath to my wife Minne Kruvand, for her sole use and benefit forever.

I hereby appoint my said wife Minne Kruvand, as sole exeuctriux of my estate without being required to furnish Bonds, and with full power and authority to sell, mortgage or in any manner dispose of the whole or any part of my estate.

Witness my hand this 6th day of April, 1926.

Archik X Kruvand (mark)

Signed, published and declared by Archik Kruvand, testator above named as and for his Last Will and Testament, in our presence who at his request in his presence and the presence of each of us, who have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto the day and year first above written.

***
Philip Steinberg
David Deutsch

State of Missouri
City of St. Louis

Be it Remembered, That on this 28th day of September A.D. 1926, before me, the undersigned Clerk of the Probate Court of the City of St. Louis, personally come Philip Steinberg and David Deutch who being both by me duly sworn on their oaths, say: “We saw Archik Kruvand the testator, make his mark as and for his name to the annexed instrument, in writing, bearing date the 6th day of April 1926, and heard him declare the same to be his last Will and Testament; we subscribed our names thereto as witnesses in the presence and at the request of the said testator and at the time of the execution of said instrument as aforesaid, and of our subscribing the same as such witnesses, he the said testator was of sound and disposing mind, to the best of our knowledge and belief.”

Philip Steinberg
David Deutsch
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 28th day of September 1926.
George Brand, Clerk. By Fred H. Haid, Deputy Clerk.

State of Missouri
City of St. Louis

Be it Remembered, That on this 28th day of September, A.D. 1926, it being one of the days of the September Term of the Probate Court of the City of St. Louis, for said year, an instrument in writing, purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Archik Kruvand deceased, is produced in and exhibited to said Court, upon examination whereof, and of the testimony of Philip Steinberg and David Deutsch the subscribing witnesses thereto, it is considered by the Court that said instrument in writing is duly proved to be the last Will and Testament of said Archik Kruvand, deceased.
Witness, George Brand, Clerk of said Court, and the seal thereof, at office, this 28th day of September 1926.

George Brand, Clerk (Seal)

Notes:

1) There isn't a lot of new genealogical information here. I suspect Philip Steinberg is a relative of Archik's wife, Minnie, and will conduct some research to verify this. I am unsure how David Deutsch is related, if at all.

2) Gootman (or Gutman) Kruvand remained in Lithuania, and was a victim of the Holocaust. It is unclear why he remained and didn't immigrate with his family. Records suggest he was born in 1902 and Archik and Minnie immigrated in 1913 or 1914.  His younger brothers were born in the US. It is possible he had a different mother.

3) Like most of my paternal ancestors and their immigrant kin, the mark for his signature indicates he was likely illiterate in English. Whether he was literate in Hebrew or Yiddish is unknown.

4) If one were to make an argument for the 'correct' spelling of the surname, 'Kruvand' would probably win, since it is believed to be derived from the town named Kruvandai, Lithuania. (One relative has made the suggestion to me that he was told the town was named after the family, but I find that less likely.) I believe most of the branches of the family thought of the surname in Hebrew, and transliterated phonetically.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day Weekend

As you light up your barbecue and enjoy your day off from work (those who have the day off) - take some part of the day to consider the advancements we have made in workers' rights over the last century - Many of us may have ancestors who worked in the coal mines or sweatshops.

Also consider in what ways the struggles aren't over.

Here's a playlist of songs which may help.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hillary and The Donald are 19th Cousins? Yawn.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are allegedly 19th cousins
Let's just say, even if true, this isn't very surprising.
The genealogists had to go back to the 1300s to find a common ancestor. (John of Gaunt, son of Edward III)

I believe I am 11th cousins, or closer, with, among others:

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Ulysses Simpson Grant
  • George Romney (and his son, Mitt Romney)
  • John Kerry
  • Anthony Perkins
  • Cary Elwes
  • Ann Bradford Davis
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Shirley Temple
  • Debbie Reynolds (and her daughter, Carrie Fisher)
  • Patrick Swayze
  • William Holden
  • Viggio Peter Mortensen, Jr.
  • Ashley Judd
  • Fred Rogers
  • Lillian Gish
  • Hart Crane
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Orson Scott Card
  • Alfred Kinsey

I am happier about the relationship with certain individuals above than I am others.

Note: All of the above, and I, allegedly share a common ancestor, Thomas Stoughton (1557-1620)

If someone can trace their ancestry back to 17th century New England, it is very likely one can find similar relatives to the ones I listed. Maybe not the same ones, but similar ones.

There was a website that claimed Geoffrey Chaucer was my 18th Great Grandfather. They were almost definitely wrong. Lots of genealogical information on the internet is wrong. (I might be descended from William de la Pole, 1st Duke of  Suffolk, who married Chaucer's granddaughter, but the descent would be through his illegitimate offspring. However, there are other problems with the alleged descent.) I am confident I trace my ancestry back to the Stoughtons. I am not confident that all of the famous people listed above can do so. But others claim to have done the research. (Note: I am most confident about Patrick Swayze, since I have Swayze ancestors, as well. We're 7th cousins.)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Hospital Admission Card - 1945 - Mandell Newmark

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the National Personnel Records Center, and retrieved some "Auxiliary records" for a handful of of kin who served in the Army.  A fire in 1973 destroyed most of the Personnel Folders for those discharged between 1912 and 1960, but before making my visit I contacted the center, and the staff was able to inform me whether any records existed for each of the individuals. All the folders were destroyed, but there were a handful of other records that they had on location. So when I showed up, they had these records waiting for me. It felt a little like I was a celebrity on Who Do You Think You Are.

One of these records was the Hospital Admission Record for my great-uncle, Mandell Newmark, who died in the Philippines in April of 1945.


INFORMATION FROM THE HOSPITAL ADMISSION CARDS CREATED 07/30/2015
BY THE OFFICE OF THE SURGEON GENERAL DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY (1942-1945) AND (1950-1954)
INFORMATION FOR THE YEAR 1945

SERVICE NUMBER: 37603351
CATEGORYCODEEXPLANATION
RANK:2Enlisted Man (includes Aviation Cadet or Student)
AGE:2222
RACE:1White (includes Mexican)
YEARS OF SVC:62-3 yr.
ARM OF SERVICE:20Medical Dept., General or Unspecified (incl all enlisted men)
AAF STATUS:0Neither assigned nor attached to AAF (includes all unassigned, and all Arm or Service known with no mention of AAF)
ADMISSION STATION:-8Southwest Pacific
ADMISSION DD/M/Y:12 4 512 April 1945
LAST TREAT FACILITY:4Field Hospital
SPECIAL CLASS:0None
TYPE OF CASE:4 Battle Casualty
TYPE OF ADMISSION: 0New, not EPTS (did not Exist Prior To entry on active military Service)
FIRST DIAGNOSIS:0260Fracture, compound, comminuted with no nerve or artery involvement
LOCATION:8432Femur, Shaft
OPERATION:302Fracture, compound, closed, treatment of, w/splints/casts; or Fracture w/bone fragment removal and cast.
SECOND DIAGNOSISNot Found
LOCATION:Not Found
OPERATION:Not Found
THIRD DIAGNOSIS:Not Found
CAUSATIVE AGENT:233Bullet, Rifle
CIRCUMSTANCES:5Injured handling firearms, ammunition, etc, on post or in camp (cleaning gun, on range, etc. by patient or others.)
FINAL RESULT:Not Found
NON-EFFECTIVE DAYS
Total Days003003
Overseas Days:003003
TYPE OF DISPOSITION0
FIELD OF CAUSE OF DEATH OR DISCHARGE1First Diagnosis Field
DISPOSITION MO/YR:4 5April 1945
HOSP DAYS (GH/CH)Not Found
SPEC TREAT:Not Found
G/C HOSPITAL:No entry made
SAMPLE SIZE:3Not Found

Source: This information was obtained from the Hospital Admission Card data files (1942-1945; 1950-1954), created by the Office of the Surgeon General, Department of the Army. During 1988, this secondary source material was made available to the National Personnel Records Center by the National Research Council, a current custodian of the data file. The file was originally compiled for statistical purposes, therefore, name identification does not exist and sampling techniques were used with the result that not all hospital admissions are included. Veterans on the file are identified by service number and other data related to hospital admission.


Notes:

1) The first thing to note is that this isn't an original record. It is a printout derived from the Hospital Admission Cards, and was created in July of this year (by the Personnel Records Center in preparation for my visit.) I don't have an image of the Hospital Admission Card, but I am confident the only information on it is the codes. The accuracy of the explanations is dependent upon the use of the correct decoding system.

We can assume that the National Archives would use the correct decoding system, correct? No. They've made mistakes in the past. Ten years ago, the National Archives discovered they had been using the wrong code book for the Civilian Occupation Codes. This meant the occupation on all the Army Enlistment records was incorrect. NARA updated their records in 2005. Ancestry updated their records sometime between 2007 (when I first looked up the records for several kin) and 2011 (when I noticed the change, and wrote about it).

The description of the circumstances of injury matches what the family was told. Mandell was shot by a fellow soldier who was cleaning his rifle.

2) The record indicates he was shot on April 12, and remained alive for three days. His obituary also stated that he died three days after his wounds.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: The Obituary I Was Sure Wouldn't Contain Any Surprises

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Obituaries are a wonderful resource, but when one's library research time is restricted one focuses on documents where one expects to find new information. That new information can sometimes lurk in unexpected places.

I had some time to visit the library last week, and I looked up several obituaries that had been on my to do list for quite awhile. One was the obituary for my second great grandmother, Minnie Mojsabovski Cruvant. [Like many of the surnames in my database, the exact spelling of her maiden name is a bit uncertain.]

I have a cousin who has researched the Cruvant lines for several decades, and I have a rather extensive database covering the Cruvant/Kruvant/Cruvand/Kruvand descendants and cousins of my second great grandparents. But being completist, I knew I should look up her obituary, even though I knew there wouldn't be any surprises.

St. Louis Post Dispatch - Feb 14, 1924, p.30

CRUVANT - On Wednesday, Feb 13, 1924, Minnie Cruvant, widow of Morris Cruvant, fond mother of Mrs. Bertha Newmark, Mrs. Stella Stern, Mrs. Flora Altman, Benjamin, David and Sol Cruvant. Dear sister of Mrs. Blanche Rubin, and our dear grandmother. 
Funeral from Berger Chapel, 4715 Mcpherson avenue on Friday Feb 15 at 10 a.m.

Reading the obituary, I was stunned. Minnie had a sister?

Siblings of immigrant ancestors  have been the source of several surprises during my years of research. When one can trace their lines back several generations on American soil, the US Census will usually record most siblings. There is the 20 year gap between 1880 and 1900, due to the destruction of the 1890 census, but otherwise it is difficult for someone to be born, grow up, and leave the household in the usual 10-year census gaps.

However, since I don't have access to pre-immigration records, siblings or adult children of immigrants can escape notice.

When an obituary doesn't indicate where a relative lives, that often means they live in town. So I looked up Blanche Rubin in the Online Missouri Death Certificates. Her death certificate lists her parents as Mendel Majabovsky and Sarah Greenberg. Minnie's parents are thought to be Mendel and Sarah Goldstein. It's possibly the same mother, with at least one improperly recorded maiden name. However, the dates of birth for the two sisters are twenty years apart, Minnie being the elder, suggesting they are actually half-sisters.

In 1920, Blanche and her husband, Ben Rubin were living next door to Philip and Leah Rubin. Philip and Leah's daughter, Anna, would marry David Cruvant, the son of Morris and Minnie. Were Ben and Philip related? It seems a strong possibility. However, complete strangers live next door to one another all the time, and it is possible for them to share a surname.  Ben and Blanche's nephew marrying Philip and Leah's daughter isn't proof of anything. I've now looked up the death certificates and obituaries for Ben and Phil without confirmation one way or another.

I've managed to trace two children of Ben and Blanche who each had one child, and these two grandchildren are still living. I will likely write to them to see if they can provide further information. However, I'm glad I finally found the time to look up the obituary for my second great grandmother.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary for Robert Lee Gober

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009. Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

This week I transcribe the obituary for my wife's great grandfather, Robert Lee Gober (1895-1971)

ROBERT GOBER

PINE LAWN – Robert Gober, 75, died at his home last Friday. He was born in Vanduser and farmed in the Sikeston area until he moved to the St. Louis area 17 years ago.

He is survived by his wife, the former Mabel Fulkerson, and one daughter, Anna Lee Wallace, of St. Louis.

Those from Sikeston attending services in St. Louis Monday were Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Alcorn, Mr. and Mrs. C.D. Alcorn, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Alcorn, Mrs. And Mrs. Lester McDonald and one daughter Tammy.

Gober’s wife is a sister of Mrs. Ellis Alcorn.

The Daily Standard (Sikeston, Missouri) · Fri, May 7, 1971 · Page 12


Notes

1) I transcribed his WWI registration form a few weeks ago.
2) Mrs. Ellis Alcorn was Urista Fulkerson, a sister of Mabel (Fulkerson) Gober. I believe the three children of Urista and Ellis who attended the services were Cal, Dale and Blanche.
3) In addition to the familial relationships, the obituary provides an estimate for the year the Gobers moved to St. Louis - 1954.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary for Anna Marie (Taylor) Gober - 1947

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009. Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

***
This week I transcribe the obituary for my wife's second great grandmother, Anna Marie (Taylor) Gober.


Mrs. Anna Marie Gober, wife of Lewis P. Gober, died at the family home in Vanduser Monday morning at 1 o’clock. She was born May 23, 1873, near Illmo, the daughter of Andrew and Drucilla Taylor.

Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Methodist church in Vanduser by the Rev. Levi Bess. Burial will be in the old Morley cemetery. The body is to remain at the Welsh Funeral Chapel until time of services.

She was married to Lewis P. Gober January 6, 1891, and they were the parents of eight children, six of whom preceded their mother in death.

Mrs. Gober is survived by her husband, a prominent farmer of the community, and two children, Robert Gober of near McMullin and Albert Gober of St. Louis; four sisters, Mrs. Amanda Bess of Marquand, Mrs. Hannah Greer of Vanduser, Mrs. Matilda Crutchfield of Sikeston and Mrs. Ada Boney of Morley; seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Sikeston Standard (Sikeston, Missouri) · Tue, Apr 29, 1947 · Page 8


Notes


1) I have previously transcribed the obituary for Anna's husband, Lewis (or Louis) P. Gober.

2) I am appreciative that whoever wrote the obituary went against the cultural norm, and actually listed the given names of the sisters, instead of identifying them by their husband's names. Amanda Bess's husband was Noah Charles Bess. I haven't yet figured out if or how Noah was related to the Rev. Levi Bess.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary for Verba Ella Fulkerson - 1947

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009. Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

***
This week I transcribe the obituary for my wife's second great grandmother, Verba Elle (Blackman) Fulkerson.

Mrs. Fulkerson Dies at Daughter’s Home

Mrs. Verba Elle Fulkerson, 89, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Robert Gober, of near Morley, Wednesday morning, after a prolonged illness.

Born December 10, 1857, Mrs. Fulkerson had been a resident of Morley and vicinity for 40 years.

She is survived by five daughters, Mrs. Virgil Williams, Memphis, Tenn., Mrs. John Healy, Dexter, Mrs. Ella Huey, Mountain Grove, Mrs. Ellis Alcorn, Sikeston, and Mrs. Robert Gober, of near Morley, One son, W.O. Fulkerson, Bloomfield, 46 grandchildren and 62 great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock with Rev. Freeman Unsel officiating. Burial will be in Blodgett cemetery. Welsh service.

Sikeston Standard (Sikeston, Missouri) · Fri, Jan 31, 1947 · Page 2

Notes


1) I've previously transcribed a news article for Verba Fulkerson's 83rd birthday. There it stated she had 62 children and grandchildren present. Her obituary states she was survived by 6 children, 46 grandchildren, and 62 great grandchildren. I'm aware of 10 children, seven with offspring, and have only identified 35 grandchildren. (It's certainly possible there are several offspring I haven't identified yet.)

2) Mrs. Virgil Williams is her daughter, Julia, Mrs. John Healy is her daughter, Bertha, Mrs. Ellis Alcorn is her daughter, Urista, and Mrs. Robert Gober is her daughter, Mabel. The daughters are listed in chronological order. W.O. Fulkerson is William Otis Fulkerson.

3) "Welsh Service" is a reference to Welsh Funeral Home, which today is Ponder Funeral Home.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Robert Lee Gober - World War I Registration

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009. Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

***
This week I transcribe a World War I registration card, and a newspaper clipping from 1918 concerning my wife's great grandfather, Robert Lee Gober.

2055 REGISTRATION CARD No. 51
1) Name in Full: Robert Lee Gober Age in yrs: 21
2) Home address: Vanduser, Mo
3) Date of birth: Oct 5, 1895
4) Are you (1) a natural born citizen (2) a naturalized citizen (3) an alien (4) or have you declared your intention: Natural Born
5) Where were you born: Vanduser, Mo, USA
6) If not a citizen, of what country are you a citizen or subject?
7) What is your present trade, occupation, or office: Farming
8) By whom employed: LP Gober - Father
Where employed: Vanduser, Mo
9) Have you a father, mother, wife, child under 12, or a sister or brother under 12, solely dependent upon you for support: No
10) Married or Single: Single Race: Caucasian
11) What military service have you had: No
12) Do you claim exemption from draft: No

I affirm that I have verified above answers and that they are true.

(Signature) Robert Lee Gober

24-3-22 A / REGISTRAR'S REPORT

1) Tall, medium or short: Tall Slender, medium or stout: Stout
2) Color of eyes: Brown Color of hair: Dark Bald: No
3) Has person lost arm, leg, hand, foot, or both eyes, or is he otherwise disabled: No

I certify that my answers are true, that the person registered has read his own answers, that I have witnessed his signature, and that all of his answers of which I have knowledge are true, except as follows:

(Signature) Illegible

Precinct: Vanduser
City or County: Scott
State: Mo

June 5, 1917

Mrs. Louis Gober, of Vanduser, and her son Robert, who is home on a ten day furlough from Camp Funston, were in Sikeston Tuesday afternoon.

The Twice-A-Week Sikeston Standard, May 3, 1918

Notes

1) Camp Funston was a U.S. Army training base located in Manhattan Kansas at Fort Riley.
2) Even short social news clippings can reveal important information - such as which army base someone was located at.
3) The gravesite of Robert Lee and Mabel (Fulkerson) Gober - photograph taken July 3, 2015.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Amanuensis Monday: A Divorce Suit Filed - 1918

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009. Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

***
This week I transcribe a newspaper article from 1918 mentioning the divorce of a great uncle.

George Meade and Frank P. Bell are named as correspondents in the divorce suit of Stanford O. Van Every against Amy Van Avery. Alice O. Hartley alleges failure to provide against Sydney R. Hartley, and cruelty is the allegation of the complaint of Sarah C. Porter against Richard Porter, whom she married in Butler county in 1899.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) · Tue, Dec 3, 1918 · Page 4

Notes

1) Stanford Van Every (aka Samuel Van Every), was the brother of my maternal grandmother.

2) Amy Johnston and Stanford O Van Every were married in March of 1917. In July of 1918, Amy wrote to the FBI and accused her husband of bigamy, draft evasion, and pro-German sympathies. This news clipping suggests Stanford filed the divorce suit again his wife. This news article provides a county court to contact to see if the divorce records survive. It also provides some possible associates of either my great uncle, or  his wife.

3) I am unsure if the Hartleys mentioned in the same news clipping are related to my Hartley ancestors.  It would be highly coincidental, since my Hartley ancestors resided mostly in Texas and Mississippi.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Defining a Patriot

Three years ago I wrote a post concerning all of my ancestors and where they were during the Revolution.

My ancestor David Van Every served a few months in the New York Militia, but he became a United Empire Loyalist like his father. And since there is no indication that his father's loyalties were ever in doubt, it might be fair to wonder if those few months in the New York Militia were entirely patriotic. He did have uncles and cousins serving patriotically, so it's possible, and there is some evidence he may have signed  up for the militia honestly, which I will go into in another post, but there is enough doubt I knew I would feel uncomfortable using that service to claim descent from a Patriot.

I hadn't completely given up hope of finding a truly Patriotic ancestor, but figured the only branches would be the ancestors of my maternal great great grandmother, Sarah Hartley Denyer. Born around 1836, I'd have to research back to her grandparents and great grandparents.

I was plugging in some surnames into the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) databases recently for fun, and found a different ancestor, my fifth great grandfather, Mark Fretz.

FRETZ, MARCK  Ancestor #: A042599
Service: PENNSYLVANIA Rank: PRIVATE
Birth: 12- -1750 BEDMINSTER TWP BUCKS CO PENNSYLVANIA
Death: 2-24-1840 NEW BRITAIN TWP BUCKS CO PENNSYLVANIA
Service Description: 1) CAPT HENRY DARROCH, LCOL WILLIAM ROBERTS
2) 3RD BATT, BUCKS CO, MILITIA

As I wrote back in 2012, I had not found any evidence that my Mennonite Fretz ancestors had violated their dedication to pacifism. But the entry on the DAR database suggested Mar(c)k Fretz had served in the militia. So I went looking for other sources and found this (Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File, Pennsylvania State Archives):



It appears Mark Fretz paid fines for the privilege of not actively serving in the militia. If I am reading the card correctly, and if the abstract from the original record is correct, in 1780 he paid 600 pounds, which would have been a significant amount in 1780.

Here is DAR's definition of "Acceptable Service" (SAR uses the same definition.)
  • Signers of the Declaration of Independence
  • Military Service...
  • Civil Service...
  • Patriotic Service, which includes:...
    • Furnishing a substitute for military service...
So my ancestor, Mark Fretz, would be considered a Patriot under that definition. I am proud of his dedication to his religious principles, however, he didn't serve in the militia.

While I would like to find an ancestor who was an active Patriot, since the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution organizations accept those pacifists who paid the fines as suitable ancestors, I wouldn't feel bad about using Mark Fretz for that purpose. Becoming a member of the Sons isn't on my high list of priorities right now, though I realize some kin might feel different. So the question arises: Could I, or a cousin, prove descent from Mark Fretz to the satisfaction of their guidelines?

The 'proof' cited in my database relies heavily on: A Brief History of John and Christian Fretz and a Complete Genealogical Family Register With Biographies of their Descendants from the Earliest Available Records to the Present Time – by Rev A.J. Fretz of Milton N.J. copyright 1890. Mennonite Publishing Co. Elkhart, Indiana. pp. 326-333. [read the transcribed text here]

My great-grandparents, Melvin and Margaret Jane (Denyer) Van Every appear in the genealogy, along with their first three children. I am confident I can prove up to there with vital records. However, looking at the guidelines on the lineage society websites, they rarely accept family history publications that don't contain source annotations. Regardless of how accurate I may feel the work to be, it isn't annotated. So, removing it as a source, what other sources are there?

They are likely to accept the lineage information provided within the testimony to the Dawes Commission. (The Dawes Commission rejected their claims to be of Choctaw descent, but not their testimony of how they were all related to each other.) My grandmother is mentioned in the testimony, as she was born a few months prior. My second great grandmother, Sarah (Hartley) Denyer is also mentioned. She died two years prior to the testimony, but her brother testified. I have a copy of the 1854 marriage certificate for Sarah Hartley and Ebenezer Denyer.

Can I connect Ebenezer Denyer with Mark Fretz with acceptable records? The answer lies in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Ebenezer was born there, as was his mother, Elizabeth (Sliver) Denyer, grandmother Barbara (Fretz) Sliver, and his great-grandfather, Mark Fretz. [His mother and grandmother both died in Texas, which would be helpful in proving that he is the same Ebenezer Denyer.] There is a good chance it could be done.