Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Marriage Certificate for Myrtle Vanevery and Dale Bowlby Ridgely - April 1927

Several years ago I discovered the divorce complaint from my grandmother's second or third husband. The marriage lasted less than three months. I made the comment then that if my grandmother hadn't kept a copy of the complaint, it would never have occurred to me to look in California records for a marriage or divorce.

However, as records get digitized, such things matter less. The record to the left turned up for me on Ancestry this past week. It is the marriage license and certificate for my grandmother, Myrtle Vanevery, and her second husband, Dale Bowlby Ridgely.

It's a legible and quite detailed certificate, with names of parents for both bride and groom, as well as occupations for bride and groom.

I was most intrigued by the surname of the minister, and two witnesses. It matched my grandmother's. However, I was unfamiliar with these relatives.

Some quick research in Ancestry's family trees suggest that the minister, John M Vanevery, was the son of a John Vanevery and Louise Bartlett, and grandson of my third great grandparents, Andrew Vanevery and Nancy Lucinda Vansellas. (I'd have to do some research to truly verify the family trees, but it seems likely.) That would mean the minister was first cousins with the bride's father. The two witnesses were the minister's wife, Fanny, and their daughter, Irene.

I still suspect the marriage was in California primarily because the groom was stationed in the army in San Francisco, but my grandmother did have 'family' in the Bay Area. She returned to St. Louis after the marriage ended.

The certificate states that it was my grandmother's second marriage. I have records of one prior divorce from an Alfred Connevey in 1920. Letters from her parents imply an earlier marriage with a man named, Jack, that ended in 1919.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Poetry

Below are several poems for the holiday

Gratitude - by Edgar A. Guest (©1917)

Be grateful for the kindly friends that walk along your way;
Be grateful for the skies of blue that smile from day to day;
Be grateful for the health you own, the work you find to do,
For round about you there are men less fortunate than you.

Be grateful for the growing trees, the roses soon to bloom,
The tenderness of kindly hearts that shared your days of gloom;
Be grateful for the morning dew, the grass beneath your feet,
The soft caresses of your babes and all their laughter sweet.

Acquire the grateful habit, learn to see how blest you are,
How much there is to gladden life, how little life to mar!
And what if rain shall fall to-day and you with grief are sad;
Be grateful that you can recall the joys that you have had.

Thanksgiving - by Edgar A. Guest (©1917)

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

Looking Back - by Edgar Guest (©1921)

I might have been rich if I'd wanted the gold instead of the friendships I've made.
I might have had fame if I'd sought for renown in the hours when I purposely played.
Now I'm standing to-day on the far edge of life, and I'm just looking backward to see
What I've done with the years and the days that were mine, and all that has happened to me.

I haven't built much of a fortune to leave to those who shall carry my name,
And nothing I've done shall entitle me now to a place on the tablets of fame.
But I've loved the great sky and its spaces of blue; I've lived with the birds and the trees;
I've turned from the splendor of silver and gold to share in such pleasures as these.

I've given my time to the children who came; together we've romped and we've played,
And I wouldn't exchange the glad hours spent with them for the money that I might have made.
I chose to be known and be loved by the few, and was deaf to the plaudits of men;
And I'd make the same choice should the chance come to me to live my life over again.

I've lived with my friends and I've shared in their joys, known sorrow with all of its tears;
I have harvested much from my acres of life, though some say I've squandered my years.
For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy, and I think I have lived to my best,
And I have no regret, as I'm nearing the end, for the gold that I might have possessed.

A Song of Thanks - by Edward Smyth Jones (©1922)

FOR the sun that shone at the dawn of spring,
For the flowers which bloom and the birds that sing,
For the verdant robe of the gray old earth,
For her coffers filled with their countless worth,
For the flocks which feed on a thousand hills,
For the rippling streams which turn the mills,
For the lowing herds in the lovely vale,
For the songs of gladness on the gale,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the farmer reaping his whitened fields,
For the bounty which the rich soil yields,
For the cooling dews and refreshing rains,
For the sun which ripens the golden grains,
For the bearded wheat and the fattened swine,
For the stalled ox and the fruitful vine,
For the tubers large and cotton white,
For the kid and the lambkin frisk and blithe,
For the swan which floats near the river-banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks

For the pumpkin sweet and the yellow yam,
For the corn and beans and the sugared ham,
For the plum and the peach and the apple red,
For the dear old press where the wine is tread,
For the cock which crows at the breaking dawn,
And the proud old “turk” of the farmer’s barn,
For the fish which swim in the babbling brooks,
For the game which hide in the shady nooks,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the sturdy oaks and the stately pines,
For the lead and the coal from the deep,
dark mines, For the silver ores of a thousand fold,
For the diamond bright and the yellow gold,
For the river boat and the flying train,
For the fleecy sail of the rolling main,
For the velvet sponge and the glossy pearl,
For the flag of peace which we now unfurl,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the lowly cot and the mansion fair,
For the peace and plenty together share,
For the Hand which guides us from above,
For Thy tender mercies, abiding love,
For the blessed home with its children gay,
For returnings of Thanksgiving Day,
For the bearing toils and the sharing cares,
We lift up our hearts in our songs and our prayers,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Amanuensis Monday: The "Engagement" of Belle Feinstein and Melvin 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.

Below I transcribe two December 1936 clippings from The Modern Voice, a St. Louis Jewish weekly newspaper. The second one appeared a week after the first, reporting the same event, but with a few corrections.

Dec 6, 1936 - page 14


Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Feinstein of 6422 San Sonita Ave., have announced the engagement of their daughter, Miss Belle Feinstein, and Melvin I. Newmark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Barney Newmark, of Kingsbury Avenue. Mr. Newmark attended Washington University and is a graduate of the school of law of that institution. The wedding date has been set for June 10
Dec 10, 1936 - page 24


Miss Belle Feinstein, daughter of Mr.and Mrs. H.M. Feinstein, of 6422 San Bonita Ave., has chosen January 10 as the date of her marriage to Melvin L. Newmark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Barney Newmark, of Kingsbury. Mr. Newmark is a graduate of the Washington University school of law.


1) My grandparents, Melvin Newmark and Belle Feinstein, were married in Waterloo, Illinois on May 10, 1936, in the middle of the night, and told no one. In an interview in the 1980s my grandfather explained they were unwilling to wait. My grandmother's older brother was married on November 1, 1936, so I suspect they felt they had to wait until after that to announce their intentions to their families. May 10th, 1936 was one month prior to my grandfather receiving his diploma from Washington University law school.

2) It's unclear whether the June 10th in the first clipping was a mistake on the part of the newspaper, that was corrected the following week, along with a couple spelling errors, or whether my great-grandparents thought the date was June 10th, and my grandmother corrected them. It occurs to me to wonder what my great-grandparents thought when my grandmother told them she wanted to get married in a month. They had been a couple for several years, so it's a good chance everyone knew they were simply waiting, first for my grandfather to have his degree, and second for the older sibling to be married first, but still, a one-month engagement may have raised a few eyebrows. Their first child wouldn't arrive until 1938.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Poem: A Cry of the Foreign Born - by St. Louis poet, Leah Rachel Yoffie (1883-1956)

The following poem by Leah Rachel Clara Yoffie appears in Contemporary Verse, Volume 9 (1920), p. 144, as well as the St. Louis weekly newspaper, The Modern View, April 2, 1926, p. 27.  While I originally found the poem browsing through the microfilm at the library, the Google Books scan of the 1920 volume is a lot clearer than the microfilm printout, so I will share that below.
I suspect from her references she may have grown up in the same slums that my Polish, Russian and Lithuanian ancestral immigrants to St. Louis did. Her plea rings strong today.

Posted for the Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wordful Wednesday: Oxenhandler Funeral Home advertisement - with photographs

December 1937 advertisement. From The Modern View, a local community newspaper.

Edward Louis Oxenhandler was the brother-in-law of my great-grandfather, Herman Feinstein. Willard Z. Oxenhandler was Edward and Pearl (Feinstein) Oxenhandler's son. Aaron was another sibling of my great-grandfather.

Note: An agreement between the Chauffeur and Undertaker unions abolished Sunday funerals in St. Louis in 1928. In 1930 the Oxenhandlers created a non-union Orthodox Jewish funeral home.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Alleged photographs of my great grandfather, Melvin Van Every

In an online family tree, I found two alleged photographs of my great grandfather, Melvin Van Every. I communicated with the owner of the tree, and the photographs came from his grandmother's collection, and she was a niece of my great-grandfather. I would normally consider that a good source of identification, but my great-grandfather had about twenty siblings. It would have been easy for a niece to get confused.

There are three photographs below. The one in the middle is a definite photograph of my great-grandfather, taken in 1900, shortly after the birth of his daughter, and my grandmother, Myrtle. (It was colorized in the 1940s, but I have the original photograph as well, which contained my grandmother as an infant.)

My inexpert opinion is that the individual in the oldest photograph isn't the same as the individual in the middle. The shape of the head is different. However, the ear, mouth, and nose look identical. If it were my great-grandfather, it would likely have been taken in 1883, at the time of his wedding, when he was 20.

I am much more willing to believe the man in the last picture is my great-grandfather. He lived until 1929, age 66. Visually, I'd guess the picture is from his final decade.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Amanuensis Monday: Birth Record for Salamon Deutsch - Dec 1861

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.

Below I transcribe a transcription from a record at No image is available. The source information says it is from FamilySearch, but the record isn't there, either. At least, not yet.

Name: Salamon Deutsch
Gender: Male
Event Type: Szulettek (Birth)
Birth Date: dec. 1861
Birth Place: Vitka, Szabolcs, Hungary
Father: Abraham Deutsch
Mother: Sara

Source Information: Hungary, Civil Registration, 1895-1978 (database on-line), Provo, UT, USA. Operations, Inc., 2014.

Original data: Hungary, Civil Registration, 1895-1980. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.


1) The database is labeled with the years 1895-1978. The year of birth is 1861. Without seeing the record, it is uncertain what record it is taken from. I am curious whether it might be a marriage record, which could have contained the names of his parents, and birth information, from which Ancestry created a 'birth record'.

2) This is my great grandfather. The date of birth matches family records, as do the names of his parents. It is nice to have documentation to back up their names. It's a shame the maiden name for the mother isn't indicated. We believe it was Weiss. My grandfather's application for a certificate of citizenship indicated his father was born in Vitka, so this is confirmed as well.

3) The existence of these records gives me hope that I may be able to break down some brick walls in my Transylvanian ancestry.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Veterans Day/Remembrance Day 2017

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)

Second Great Uncle
Nelson D Van Every (1845-1926) (Union Army)

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 (KIA)
Bernard Feinstin (1913-1968), WWII
Seymour Feinstein (1917-1999), WWII

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)